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Full text of "Tennessee county history series : Claiborne County / by Edgar A. Holt ; Joy Bailey Dunn, editor, Charles W. Crawford, associate editor"

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Tennessee County History Series 

Alicia M. Horton 

Assistant Editor 
Tennessee County History Series 


Jeanne Ridgway Bigger 
Ellsworth Brown 
Robert E. Corlew 
Arthur H. DeRosier 
Winfield Dunn 
Walter T. Durham 
May Dean Eberling 
Odie B. Faulk 
John R. Finger 
Gerald George 
Frank R. Ginanni 
Albert Gore, Jr. 
Herbert L. Harper 
J. Milton Henry 
Charles F. Holmes 
James K. Huhta 
Diana Johnson 
B. F. Jones 
Billy Mac Jones 

Carl A. Jones 
Eric Lacy 
Roy G. Lillard 
James Livingood 
Robert M. McBride 
William R. Majors 
Jerry B. Michel 
Jesse C. Mills 
Charles F. Ogilvie 
Drexel A. Peterson 
Daniel A. Powell 
Linda Scott 
Howard E. Sims, Sr. 
Alonzo T. Stephens, Si 
Alan R. Thoeny 
Jean B. Waggener 
Richard W. Weesner 
Charles Wolfe 


Claiborne County 

by Edgar A. Holt 

Joy Bailey Dunn 


Charles W. Crawford 

Associate Editor 



Memphis, Ten nessee 

Copyright © 1981 Memphis State University Press 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or 
utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechani- 
cal, including photocopying and recording, or by any informa- 
tion storage and retrieval system without permission from the 

Maps prepared by Reaves Engineering, Inc., 
Memphis, Tennessee. 

Manufactured in the United States of America. 

Designed by Gary G. Gore. 

ISBN: 0-87870-101-X 

This book is dedicated to those whom I hold especially dear: To 
the hard working farmers; operators of grist, flour and carding 
mills; doctors, Civil War veterans, teachers, ministers, and mer- 
chants who created a vigorous community in historic Lonesome 
Valley, centering at Duo, the post office, and at the general store. 
This community was exemplified in the hearts and minds of 
its people who combined industry and religious faith with an 
insight into themselves and the future furnished by dedi- 
cated teachers in a one-room country school. Nothing seemed 
beyond us. 


In addition to the background information from books and 
articles covering the general history of Upper East Tennessee, I 
have derived much factual information from the official records 
of the county and the cities of Tazewell and New Tazewell. I 
have gained much information from the McClung Collection 
located in the Lawson McGhee Library in Knoxville. Staff mem- 
bers in the Knoxville library have been generous and efficient. I 
thank them heartily. I am most grateful to the staff members of 
the register's office and the county court clerk's office in 

Much information has been gained from disparate sources 
such as current members of the Tazewell Baptist Church, ceme- 
tery records of the Irish Cemetery, and interviews with scores of 
people. Through the kindness of Mrs. Marshall Dyer, I have 
gained much from the writings of General Peter Graham 
Fulkerson, one of the really distinguished leaders of the Taze- 
well community. Thanks to many persons who have consented 
to interviews: Mrs. Bobby Arnold; Mrs. Wilma Beaty; Hershel 
Beeler, New Tazewell recorder; Mrs. Hazel Davis who headed 
the welfare department in its formative years when it was grow- 
ing out of English common law practices to the professionalism 
which stems from the Social Security Act of 1935; Lizzie Mae 
Morley, secretary of the OEO staff and a previous county trus- 
tee; Jack Munsey, administrator of the Claiborne County Hos- 
pital; Clyde Nevils, administrator of the newly established 
Claiborne Textiles; Douglas Overton, Tazewell recorder for 
many years; and Jacob Walker, current administrator of the 
department of human services. Special thanks are due Lee Dan 
Stone, not only for supplying me with key documentary mate- 
rial, but also for his civic leadership which led from decline to 
relative affluence in the county through the development of 
water and sewage systems. 

Finally, I am grateful to my father and mother for the love 
and care which dominated our seven-member family, for the 
books and magazines which filled our home, and for the use of 
the store account books which furnished much information for 
this book and for preceding newspaper articles. 

Edgar A. Holt 
September 15, 1980 


I have prepared this history of Claiborne County as a labor of 
love. I was born to Sarah C. and Newton Lafayette Holt in 
historic Lonesome Valley, attended the Mayes Elementary 
School in that community, walked four miles each way to the 
Claiborne County High School in Tazewell, graduated with a 
B.A. in history and literature from Lincoln Memorial University 
in the same county, and during teaching stints acquired an M.A. 
in history and government from the State University of Iowa 
and a Ph.D in history and government from Ohio State Univer- 
sity. After college teaching at Southern Illinois University and 
the University of Nebraska at Omaha, I entered military service 
and eventually retired from the Air Force and university life. 
Then I came home to live the remainder of my life in the area of 
my choice — Claiborne County. Throughout the years of service 
in the United States or overseas, I came back to Claiborne Coun- 
ty when on leave or in vacation periods. 

I make this rather lengthy statement in this preface because it 
is central to what I have to say about Claiborne County, where 
the hills and mountains are beautiful beyond comparison with 
many areas I have seen in the United States and elsewhere. In all 
honesty I must say that my preference is largely due to the love 
which dominated our family life in Lonesome Valley and the 
atmosphere of hope which sustained our people during an 

admittedly stern struggle to "get ahead." Most families in 
Claiborne Country lived according to a work ethic which still 
survives and has enabled them to pull out of a long period of 
steep decline to a position of some considerable affluence. 
These are my people; Claiborne is my county. 


laiborne County, as it now exists, is located in the 
northeast part of Tennessee. Hancock County lies to the east, 
with the parent state of North Carolina farther beyond. On the 
north, Claiborne County is bounded by Bell County, Kentucky; 
on the northeast, by Lee County, Virginia; on the southeast and 
south by Grainger and Union counties, Tennessee; and on the 
west by Campbell County. Thus, the county lies squarely athwart 
the Appalachian chain of mountains which run generally from 
northeast to southwest broken occasionally by gaps such as the 
historic Cumberland Gap. Although the Appalachian Moun- 
tains impeded the movement of the population, they were not so 
high as to be insuperable. Low lying valleys carry water seaward 
to the Atlantic and on the other side of the divide to the Gulf of 
Mexico. The valleys, therefore, offered the first openings to the 
white men threading their way into the wilderness. 

Water and wind erosion have worn down upthrusting peaks 
so much that Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak, is now only slightly 
above 6000 feet. In comparison, dozens of peaks in the Rocky 
Mountains tower to 14,000 feet or more. Limestone mixed with 
some igneous rock is the dominant formation in Claiborne 
County. Soil which has resulted from wind and water erosion 
generally is alkaline and is favorable to the growth of timber and 
other forms of vegetation. Topsoil, except in deep valleys, is 
shallow because of steep grades which exist in most areas. 

2 Tennessee County History Series 

Examination of the county's topography and soil explains 
much of its early history. The boundary lines between Virginia, 
Kentucky, and Tennessee cut across the Cumberland Moun- 
tains. The highest point, the Pinnacle, overlooks vast areas of 
Claiborne County, Lee County, Virginia, and Bell County, Ken- 
tucky. The Pinnacle towers almost 3000 feet, and the Cumber- 
lands in this area are about 2000 feet, broken by Cumberland, 
Carr, and Wilson's gaps. The mountain sides, especially at 
Cumberland Gap, are marked in many places by sharply vertical 
limestone walls. The Cumberland Mountains strongly in- 
fluenced tribal warfare before the coming of the white man and, 
after the white invasion, determined even more vividly the 
course of events that followed. 

Two rivers, Powell and Clinch, both rising in Virginia, flow 
through the county. The Clinch River actually bounds the coun- 
ty on the southeast and forms one of the largest embayments of 
Norris Lake. The Powell River, shorter of the two, shears away 
several miles from the Cumberland Mountains, but no longer 
flows into the Powell Valley, which is separated by a back valley 
ridge. Geologists have often speculated that the Appalachian 
ranges, at one time, rivalled the Rocky Mountains in both alti- 
tude and width. At that time the river possibly did follow Powell 
Valley. Now the eroded mountains stand much as they did 
in 1750 when Dr. Thomas Walker and later Daniel Boone laid 
out mountain gaps and beckoned eager frontiersmen to 
follow them. 

Except for a triangular area in the northwest part of the 
Cumberland Mountains, all of the county lies in the Great Valley 
of East Tennessee. Today Claiborne Countians know that much 
of their history has resulted from the economic differences 
between the transmontane region of Fonde and Clairfield and 
the remainder of the county. Coal dominated the economy in 
this region while the remainder of the county became more 
agricultural after an initial timber phase. The general elevation 
of the mountain crests in this region is about 2500 feet, with one 
peak rising to 3100 feet. Because of this, transportation was and 
remains a problem. 

That part of the county lying in the Great Valley of East 









• Other Communities 

i-T^l Governmental Land Uses 



V*/ Inferjfote Route 

-£*^_ Federal Route 
j^- State Route 
— s locol Route 


N^ Maror Streams 


1 2 3 4 5 

Tennessee County History Series 

Cumberland Gap. On the right is the Pinnacle, 3000 feet; to the left, 
Cumberland Mountain continues through a point where Tennessee, 
Virginia, and Kentucky meet. Photograph courtesy of the National Park 

Tennessee varies widely in relief and elevation. The undulating 
and rolling limestone valleys range in elevation from 1200 to 
1300 feet; however, the hilly cherty ridges have steep relief and 
range from about 1500 feet in the southwestern part of the 
county to 1750 feet in the northeast. The shale and sandstone 
ridges also are steep. The crests of Powell Mountain, Lone 
Mountain, and Wallen Ridge are more than 2000 feet high. The 
rocks underlying the Great Valley are limestone, dolomite, acid 
shale, calcareous shale, and sandstone. In the geologic past these 
rocks experienced severe folding and cross faults that combined 
with differential weathering of the strata to give rise to a series of 
parallel physiographic belts that cross the valley from northeast 
to southwest. Starting in the northwest and proceeding to the 
southeast, these belts form 10 distinct divisions: Cumberland 
Mountain, Poor Valley Ridge, Powell Valley, Cedar Fork Valley, 
Wallen Ridge, Little Ridge, Valley of Little Sycamore Creek, 
Comby Ridge, Big Sycamore Knob, and Sycamore Knob. 


Throughout most of the county water seepage has resulted 
in innumerable limestone sinks. In Lonesome Valley, water 
from numerous springs flows downgrade unimpeded, except 
for man-made dams, until it pours with a mighty rush into an 
enormous cavern. There it travels underground for some six 
miles to emerge in the Powell River. The place where it enters 
the river is called the Blue Hole. 

The mild climate which extends the growing season, the 
presence of alkaline soil, the heavy rainfall, averaging 55 inches 
annually, and the topography of Claiborne County delighted 
newcomers who already had learned to associate timber with 
fertile soil. Many incoming settlers had knowledge of grist mills 
and other mills that could be powered with water. There were 
millwrights and raftsmen among them who saw great opportu- 
nities to prosper. Throughout Claiborne County and its neigh- 
boring areas, early settlers built homes along the creeks and 
rivers which also offered a means to transport products to mar- 
ket at little cost. 

Indians and Frontiersmen 

Indian cultures were attracted to Claiborne County because 
of the excellent hunting and fishing. The Cherokee, Iroquois, 
and Shawnee who inhabited the area led nomadic lives in the 
county. The Cherokee possessed an advanced culture that re- 
sulted in the growth of towns in Georgia and South Carolina. 
They came to the country that would become Tennessee almost 
solely for hunting and fishing, as did the Iroquois from the 
north. Consequently, Indian wars were a constant feature of 
frontier life. The Shawnee, being smaller in number, rarely 
opposed the more powerful Cherokee and Iroquois. By mid- 
eighteenth century, the Cherokee had become economic and 
political allies of the English due to the Indians 1 ready accept- 
ance of English-made products. As stated by the Cherokee head 
warrior, Skiagunsta, his people could not live without clothing, 
weapons, ammunition, and other necessities of life provided by 
the English. 

In order to bring the distant Cherokee tribes more complete- 
ly in line with English trade, military alliances were made 

6 Tennessee County History Series 

through a puppet government with Moytoy of Great Tellico 
who, according to David H. Corkran, was probably the Great 
Warrior of the Overhills. When Moytoy died in battle in 1741, 
the English in Carolina moved their Indian link to Chota on the 
Little Tennessee where they commissioned Moytoy's 13-year- 
old son as Ammonscottee emperor. There ensued a period of 
uncertainty during which the Carolina influence waned, but the 
Cherokee maintained their English connections. Intertribal 
politics almost led to an all-out war with the Creeks and their 
allies against the Cherokee who had English support. A treaty on 
November 29, 1751, regulated trade by restricting it to home- 
towns with each Indian trader being confined to that hometown. 

Conflict between France and England was often stimulated 
by events in America. The royal governors in South and North 
Carolina and Virginia were under strong pressure from leading 
citizens in their own colonies and by eager land traders who 
looked enviously beyond the Appalachian Mountains. After the 
Treaty of Paris in 1763, France retained its possessions in the 
West Indies but gave England all claims in North America. This 
territorial settlement was to have far-reaching effects on the 
English colonies in North America and on their claims to the 
promised lands beyond the mountains. Some diplomats during 
that time argued that England had blundered by removing the 
French menace in interior America and by rendering their 
citizens less dependent on the mother country for protection. In 
1756, the colonists were enthusiastic members of the United 
Kingdom. By 1771, they embarked on a program to protect 
their rights as English citizens, which resulted in armed revolt 
against legislation which stemmed from the commonly accepted 
doctrine of mercantilism. 

Those colonists who eventually came into what is now 
Claiborne County had gone through a process of Americaniza- 
tion transforming them unconsciously from English, Scots, or 
European into a very different kind of people. After several 
generations of closely contested battles with Indians and the 
surrounding wilderness, they were much more democratic than 
their forefathers. In the tidewater region of the Thirteen Col- 
onies the presence of landless persons caused conflict, followed 


by repressive legislation. Many of these people moved west and 
settled on land regardless of whether or not they had legal title. 
English yeoman farmers jostled with Scotch-Irish and Germans 
for the choicest lands. Many families moved considerable dis- 
tances three or four times. In the process they changed speech 
habits, adopted new words reflecting their experiences, and 
produced a more volatile society than that from which they 
came. Long before the revolt against English rule, hunters, 
trappers, land agents, and seekers of new homes were on their 
way through what is now Claiborne County by way of Powell 
Valley, Cumberland Gap, and the Clinch and Powell rivers. 
These early settlers made common cause against the Crown. 
Though Claiborne County was not established until 1801, the 
restless frontiersmen joined forces to combat the Indians and, 
when opportunity came, their best riflemen joined with organ- 
ized groups to strike out at the English. Others from more stable 
societies joined the westward movement, seeking a new start and 
access to riches greater than those previously known. 

Adventure and hope of profit led colonial hunters, fishers, 
and trappers through the gaps in the Appalachian chain and 
down the Powell and Clinch rivers. By word of mouth and 
through stories in provincial newspapers in Virginia and North 
Carolina, these people had learned that riches could be gained 
by supplying furs to colonial agents acting for London, Paris, or 
Low Country merchants. Before people ventured through the 
mountains, they learned the trails used by Indians and their 
trading contacts. Many English traders became so successful that 
they made permanent homes among the Indians and married 
Indian women. 

Years before Daniel Boone blazed the trail through Cumber- 
land Gap into central Kentucky, hunters and trappers in groups 
of six or seven came down the Clinch River to trap and hunt in 
what became Claiborne County. One group, led by John Wallen, 
became well acquainted with the river and with the adjoining 
ridge which now bears Wallen's name. The Wallen group was 
very successful and made repeated trips into the county, car- 
rying back stories of the riches awaiting those willing to face the 
dangers of the wilderness. Other trappers followed Powell River 

Tennessee County History Series 

■■■HHpr WSSm 

Powell River, at the point of water intake for the Upper Powell Valley 
Utility District 

out of Virginia where they arranged to buy furs from the 
Indians. Their reports created a great deal of excitement among 
those on the other side of the mountain who had not yet become 
well-established planters. Clearly, the trappers and hunters were 
opening an empire for those who would seize it. 

For two decades prior to the organization of the Claiborne 
County government, John Wallen and many others like him 
carried on a lucrative trade in furs with the Indians of the region. 
John Wallen thought so highly of the area that he remained to 
help establish the governing body of Claiborne County. He 
became a justice of the peace, appointed by Governor Archibald 
Roane, to serve as a member of the Court of Common Pleas and 
Plenary Sessions in 1801. 

Creation of the County and Its Early Years 

The movement of population through gaps, especially the 
Cumberland Gap, was so rapid that Tennessee met the constitu- 
tional requirements for admission to the Union in 1796 and 


Kentucky in 1792. The first capitol of Tennessee was located at 
Knoxville, where the Legislature on October 29, 1801, created 
Claiborne County from Grainger and Hawkins counties and 
extended the southern boundary to Anderson County. The 
Virginia tidewater aristocrat William C. C. Claiborne was 
selected to honor by using his name for the newly formed 

For the first few years, the governor appointed magistrates to 
govern the area. Archibald Roane, then serving as governor of 
the new state, appointed John Carey, James Chisum, Isaac Lane, 
Abel Lanham, Joseph Nations, Cavender Newport, George Peal, 
James Renfro, William Rogers, Mathew Sims, William Trent, 
John Vanbebber, John Wallen, and Joseph Webster asjustices of 
the peace. Joseph Cobb and Andrew Evins of Grainger County 
were appointed to qualify these justices. On December 7, 1801, 
the first government of Claiborne County was organized at the 
Powell Valley home of John Owens. Record keeping and a 
fulcrum from which to operate necessitated a clerk, but on the 
first day of its existence the court failed to fill this important 
position. On the next day the Court of Pleas and Plenary Ses- 
sions elected Walter Evans as clerk. He served the county faith- 
fully and expertly for many years. John Hunt was chosen as high 
sheriff, an extremely important office, especially in the early 
years when the burgeoning community was filled with many who 
had rejected the laws of their previous homes east of the moun- 
tains. Hunt was to serve in this capacity several times. An able 
lawyer, Luke Bowyer was appointed solicitor with a salary of $ 1 2 
for each court session. Ezekial Craft was elected register. It was 
significant that two men, Samuel Cloud and Fielding Lewis, 
whose families are still influential in the county's economy and 
politics, served as security. These men were bonded to insure 
against fraud. 

Very soon there was a need to establish the center of the 
county's government nearer to the center of the county's 
population. John Owen's home in Powell Valley was within sight 
of Cumberland Gap through which immigrants journeyed. The 
Kentucky Road ran southward from Powell Valley and in an 
easterly direction through two communities eager to be 


Tennessee County History Series 

Home of John Hunt, where the county court held its first Tazewell 
meeting. This photograph of a painting by Hazel Davis of Harrogate 
was made by E. J. Hardin IV. 

chosen — Tazewell, named for the well-known Virginia 
Tazewells, and Springdale, located on Little Sycamore Creek 
where many newcomers trapped. 

Benjamin Cloud or his ancestors had lived in Claiborne 
County for many years and his lively interest combined with 
some imagination led him to publish in the Claiborne Progress 
accounts of old time Tazewell. Tazewell was selected as the 
county seat over Springdale and according to Cloud's account of 
the legend, Tazewell won out because too many people over the 
ridge in Springdale imbibed too freely for the exercise of the 
franchise on decision day. 

Thus, the next session of the county court met in Tazewell at 
the home of John Hunt on Kentucky Road. Walter Evans was 
present to record the session. More importantly, he also main- 
tained legible and accurate records of legal actions in the county. 
Justices of the peace present at this first Tazewell session were 
Carey, Chisum, Lane, Lanham, Nations, Renfro, Trent, and 


Webster. The court accepted attorneys Luke Bowyer, James 
Bray, and James Trimble. Sheriff Hunt pointed out an embar- 
rassment to the performance of his duties — there was then no 
jail. A crude structure shortly was built, to be replaced soon by a 
more secure stone and brick structure which still stands and is 
currently used by the city of Tazewell for storage. 

Many actions needed to be taken to meet the needs of the 
county's citizens, but the primary concern was the acquisition of 
titles to lands. That need was a process that continued until 1 890, 
when even the western frontier disappeared. 

Even in 1801 there were some citizens who needed assistance 
simply to survive. In the earliest years, the court cared for needy 
persons by single appropriations. John Murphy was low bidder 
when he agreed to care for one person for $14.50 until the next 
court term. In December of 1819, the court gave to the lowest 
bidder, Drury Herrel, the sum of $103.75 for care of three 
persons. In May of 1820 the court approved an appropriation of 
$20 to provide care for an individual for a period of one year. As 
the number of needy persons increased with the county's 
population, the county poor house was established with welfare 
care again being allocated to the lowest bidder. 

Throughout the first half-century of its life, the Claiborne 
County Court of Pleas and Plenary Sessions frequently meted 
out frontier justice for such common offenses as trespass, bastar- 
dy, assault and battery, murder, libel, theft, and disputes arising 
from interpretations of agreements between individuals and 
groups. The court had an enormous and complicated task in 
applying laws so that the citizens could live in a reasonable state 
of peace. Trespass was not a common offense, but bastardy often 
engaged the attention of the court. In May of 1812 a woman 
brought suit against a gentleman acquaintance for support of a 
child "which had been begotten on her body by the said . . ." 
gentleman. The court awarded her $130 for the support of the 
child. In November of 1819 a bastardy indictment was quashed 
on grounds of a question of identity. The defendant was tried in 
the next court session under an alias indictment. 

Libel charges were rare but the disposition of such cases by 

1 - Tennessee County History Series 

Claiborne County jail, built about 1816 

the fledgling court deserves mention. In one instance the court 
upheld the charge of libel and awarded 25^ to the complainant 
but required him to pay the court costs. Assault and battery were 
the most frequent of all charges, but few actually found their way 
into court since it was a tacit assumption that each man was the 
keeper of his own honor. 

Predators, especially wolves, frequently endangered live- 
stock; therefore, the court felt obliged to pay bounties for each 
wolf. Payment was awarded by bringing the wolfs ears into court 
and by testifying as to the age of the wolf and the location of the 
kill. A further protection to owners of livestock was the assign- 
ment of markers to protect an individual's property against 
those who mistakenly might claim an animal. For example, in 
June of 1802 the court decreed that Peter Huffaker could mark 
his cattle with a smooth cup on the left ear and a slit on the 
right ear. 

Disputes between dealers in real estate inevitably arose and 
sometimes came into court. One such dispute involved a case 


brought against Elisha Wallen by several partners who re- 
quested the court to award them damages resulting from the sale 
of lands that they had agreed jointly to buy and sell on the basis 
of an equal division of the proceeds. The court found for the 
complainant and ordered Wallen to repay the partnership the 
sum of $593.33. 

Even before the court began the long process of awarding 
titles to county land, the rush for lands in the Old Southwest had 
begun. The rush for Claiborne County land befitted the times 
and the existing transportation facilities. Viewed in depth this 
land rush produced lasting effects. Here was the struggle by 
hunters, trappers, householders, and typical frontiersmen to 
acquire land leading to the hope of fame and fortune. Frederick 
Jackson Turner saw in this struggle and the hundreds of other 
western developments a process that democratized America and 
the persuasiveness of his rhetoric influenced American his- 
tory for years to come. One of Turner's followers, Thomas 
Abernethy, deviated somewhat from Turner's interpreta- 
tion and pointed to countervailing trends in the new lands of 
Tennessee and Kentucky where those who struggled to own 
land competed with the agents of special privilege who profited 
by the easy availability of land far more than those who toiled 
upon it. 

On April 18, 1783, before Claiborne County was organized 
or Tennessee was admitted to the Union, North Carolina's 
General Assembly granted Richard Henderson and others 
200,000 acres of land in Powell Valley; starting at Lead Mine 
Bend on Powell River and lying on both sides of that river and on 
Clinch River after the juncture of the two streams. To make it 
more readily available to eager buyers, the large grant was sur- 
veyed and divided into plots of 6500 acres on Powell River and 
4375 acres on both sides of the Clinch, except for the south- 
ernmost plot which ran to 10,000 acres. Prior to Tennessee's 
admission to the Union, titles to county lands continued to 
exchange hands. The governors of North Carolina and Tennes- 
see after 1796 increased the number of patent grants to indi- 
viduals thus placing them at a great advantage over others who 

14 Tennessee County History Series 

sought new homes. Much of what transpired in the Claiborne 
County court for a half-century thereafter was concerned with 
exchanging land titles in the Henderson grant. 

In another grant #642, the governor of North Carolina gave 
to Stokely Donelson and a man named King on January 24, 
1795, land that was processed through the Washington County 
land entry office, a North Carolina agency. James Glasgow, who 
dealt actively in Claiborne County land through his attorney 
John Adair of Knox County, sold 300 acres of land from the 
Donelson grant to William Henderson for the sum of $450. 
Another patent grant #290, dated December 20, 1787, was 
made to William Cocke, who in turn sold a portion of it to John 
Cocke of Grainger County. He in turn sold a portion in October 
of 1 8 1 to John Hall of Sumner County. One sale in the Tazewell 
area that was derived from the #290 grant was made from John 
Hall to Benjamin Posey on October 22, 1810, for $548. Posey 
played a leading role in the life of early Tazewell. On September 
3,18 1 0, James Glasgow sold 1 00 acres to Uriah Coins. Governor 
William Blount followed the well-developed trend by granting 
Edward Shipley and heirs a parcel of land in the District of 
Hamilton on Tye's Branch. 

In a lawsuit which grew out of the Wallen partnership dis- 
pute, Joseph Williams divulged the sale of land from certain 
other grants: 640 acres from #1590, 640 acres from #2209, and 
440 acres from #2255. The sale of lands from these grants 
covered most or all of the county area lying between Clinch River 
and the watersheds of Russell, Straight, and Barren creeks. 
During the first 20 years after the organization of the county's 
government, most of the lands encompassed in these patent 
grants were sold to those people who came to build homes and 
establish businesses. 

Walter Evans, on September 17, 1808, noted that active land 
trader Nathaniel Davis sold to George Petrie 200 acres of land in 
the Henderson grant, carved out of Lots D and E. In November 
of the same year, he again sold to Petrie other parts of the same 
lots, which involved portions of Lead Mine Bend on Powell 
River. In June of 1808 Thomas Lane with Joseph Evans took 
title for a parcel of land in Lot F. On September 15, 1809, 



Plot of the 200,000 acres on the Clinch River and its tributaries granted 
to Richard Henderson and others 

16 Tennessee County History Series 

Thomas McLane sold 1 14 acres for $400 to James Helms from 
the Henderson grant which were described legally as No. 2 in 
Lots FF and GG. The lower lots belonged to the heirs of Noah 
Hart. On May 6, 181 l,John Mclver, acting in behalf of the estate 
of Josiah Watson of Pennsylvania, sold Lots C and D. One tract 
was the northeastern section of Lot I, generally known as the 
Yoakum Station tract, which amounted to 3550 acres. The seller 
retained 150 to 200 acres and later sold them to William Maddy. 
The upper half of Lot I, consisting of 606 acres, was also sold for 
the Watson estate. Interestingly enough, attorneys for both sides 
of the transaction determined how payments were to be made. 
The Yoakum Station tract had early use as a military bastion 
against Indian attacks. 

By 1820 the brisk business of exchanging land titles had 
become so routine that an entry made by a prospective buyer in a 
land entry office at Tazewell would indicate the size, location, 
and price of the lot. This was followed by a survey arranged for 
by the buyer and then closure of the sale. 

Simeon Frost made entry for 5000 acres of land on Wallen's 
Ridge, from Bailey Gap toward Sycamore Creek. The survey 
was made by James S. Norvell who served as county surveyor for 
many years and who became the owner of a considerable 
amount of land. John Farmer claimed 5000 acres of land in the 
Mulberry Gap region and on July 19, 1837, Norvell surveyed 
4 1 3 acres to be sold by Farmer. On August 22, David Richardson 
and John Coke entered a claim to 2000 acres of land on Cumber- 
land Mountain. This claim started with land lying on the di- 
viding boundary of Claiborne and Campbell counties and the 
survey was made by Norvell on September 29, 1837. William 
Baldridge entered a claim to 1000 acres of land on Poor Valley 
Ridge. His claim was also surveyed by Norvell on February 13, 
1839. William Kincaid entered large claims to land adjoining the 
Henderson grant, 3000 acres on October 6, 1836, and 5000 
acres on August 10, 1838; Norvell surveyed both claims. 

In July of 1848, Peter Marcum and James N. Cheek entered 
a claim to land on the north side of Powell River up to the 
headwaters of Little Creek. The county surveyor, Nathaniel B. 
Capps, made the survey. James Ritter entered a claim for 4400 
acres of land lying between Powell River and Little Sycamore 


Creek. Peter Marcum surveyed this land in December of 1849. 

Among Tazewell's leaders in merchandising, building, law, 
and local government who invested wisely and extensively in 
land during the city's early years were Walter Evans, William and 
Hugh Graham, Benjamin Posey, Benjamin Sewell, and mem- 
bers of such families as the Chadwells, Fulkersons, Houstons, 
Hursts, Wales, and many others. The lands acquired by Hugh 
Graham placed him astride the Kentucky Road and afforded 
him a suitable site for construction of one of Tazewell's most 
famous homes — Castle Rock. William, Hugh's older brother, 
acquired significant portions of Tazewell on which he built two 
homes that eventually were listed on the National Register of 
Historic Places. He also built the city's only Presbyterian church. 

Road building was a major problem at the county's beginning 
and still is one due to the area's hilly topography and heavy 
rainfall. From 1801, the county court recognized the importance 
of roads in bringing many necessities of life to this wilderness 
community and in carrying the surpluses produced to the out- 
side world. As early as December of 1802, the court gave to 
Elnathan Davis the responsibility for constructing and maintain- 
ing a road from Barren Creek at Sandlick to the Straight Creek 
Road. All able-bodied males 21 years old and over along that 
road had as their civic duty to furnish labor for five days. Some- 
times, upon petition, the court would absolve a man from this 
responsibility if his physical condition so warranted. In later 
years so many men petitioned for release from this obligation 
that the court added the requirement of a doctor's certificate. 
In 1801 the first court gave John Wallen, aided by Captain 
Huffaker's company, the formidable job of building and main- 
taining the road from Powell River to the top of Cumberland 
Mountain. In those days all male citizens were assigned to 
specific "captains" to perform a variety of civic duties such as 
road work. In its March of 1802 session the court appointed a 
committee, called a jury, to lay out a road from Old Town 
Creek to John Bullard's ferry on Clinch River. In November 
of 1819, the court appointed Peter Huffaker to supervise 
road work on a road that began at "William Elys to the mouth 
of a hollow along the old path to the Kentucky Road" and 
from there to Roddy's Ferry on Powell River. 


Tennessee County History Series 

Surveyor's drawing 
of the Hugh Graham 
homesite, Castle 


The court clearly aimed to construct passable wagon roads 
throughout most of the county, with Tazewell being the hub of 
roads from Kentucky to a crossing of the Clinch Mountain, from 
the Cedar Fork area of land, Little Sycamore, and Big Sycamore, 
and down Little Barren Creek toward Knoxville, the capitol city. 
Even at that early date, Knoxville gave promise of being the 
commercial center of East Tennessee. The Kentucky Road, 
from Cumberland Gap through Tazewell and beyond the 
Clinch Mountain to connect with roads to the south, was the 
main artery although Powell Valley developed as an important 
artery of commerce due to the productivity of valley farms and 
the number of settlers who came to build homes on the Hender- 
son grant. A necessary part of the area's primitive transportation 
system were ferries which were approved to be built across the 
Powell and Clinch rivers. Bullards operated a ferry across Clinch 
River, but in December of 1802 the court authorized Robert 
Yauldy to build a ferry at the point where Kentucky Road 
crossed Clinch River. The established allowable charges were 
1 2 X /H for each man and horse, 50^ for a two-wheel carriage, and 
6!/4# for each head of cattle. 

Occasionally the court recognized the need to create public 
places of entertainment, including places for food and drink. In 
February of 1812, the court authorized James A. Perryman and 
William Dobbs to operate such places in Tazewell, George Evans 
to maintain a house of entertainment at the Clinch River ferry, 
and Christopher Dawson to operate for a period of one year at 
his home. Perhaps the most extensively used inn by travelers was 
the one built by Elijah Evans at the crossing of Clinch River and 
Kentucky Road. It had become so well known that many families 
planned in advance to stay there overnight or for longer periods 
of time. Lively Welsh songs drew many people to this pleasant 

Early County Development 

By June of 1802, the Claiborne County Court of Pleas and 
Plenary Sessions had settled into the performance of routine 
duties, even though this meeting was only its third. Like the first 
two court sessions, the third meeting was held in a home, that of 


Tennessee County History Series 

Elisha Wallen, Sr., at Tazewell. Justices of the peace present 
were Isaac Lane, Abel Lanham, Cavender Newport, George 
Real, James Renfro, William Rogers, and Joseph Webster. To 
defray the cost of government, the court set a real estate tax of 
12V : 2C per 100 acres, 25tf for each black person, and $1 per capita 
for white persons and for each stud horse. In the February of 
1812 court session, only John Doughterty, Abel Lanham, and 
John Yanbebber were present. Despite this, the court proceed- 
ed to handle pressing governmental requirements, such as ap- 
pointing Salathiel Martin to administer the sale of the estate of 
Samuel Frit. 

A necessary action near the end of each court session was to 
appoint a list of people to serve on the grand jury in February of 
the following year. The court in November of 1812 appointed 
Alexander Bales, George Campbell, Samuel Cloud, John 
Condry, William Condry, Robertson Dobbins, Lazarus Dodson, 
Elias Harrison, Thomas Huddleston, Hardy Hughes, Abraham 
Hunter, Elijah Hurst, Amos Johnston, Nathaniel McNabb, 
Thomas McVey, David Morse, John Neal, William Packer, 
Michael Pearson, Peter Perryman, John Rogers, George Sharp, 
John Sumpter, James Vanbebber, Thomas Whitted, Samuel 
Wiatt, and William Williams to grand jury duty. 

The court in 1819 appointed the following jurors to form a 
panel for the next circuit court: Peter Arnwine, John Baker, 
William Barnwell, Breamt Breeding, Alexander Campbell, 
Michael Cannon, Jacob Castle, Thomas Clark, Samuel Cloud, 
Daniel Cofelt, Robert Crockett, John W. Dowele, John Gravis, 
John Huddleston, Joseph Hunter, Tideance C. Lane, Leavis 
Morris, James Overton, John Rhea, John Simmons, James 
Vanbebber, Jacob Vandeventer, and Beaufort W. Woodall. The 
court also appointed 26 men to serve as jurors when needed; 
Isaac Bullard, John Carr, John Condry, George Ford, and John 
Hodges were included. 

As late as February of 1820, Governor Joseph McMinn, as 
heretofore, appointed members to the court. He appointed 
William Graham, the architect, religious and educational leader; 
Archer Bales, George Brock, John Brock, Alexander Campbell, 
Aaron Davy, Mercurious Cook, John Evans, John Huddleston, 


John Hunt, John Lynch, John Neil, and Josiah Ramsey. Many 
of these men continued to appear prominently in the county's 
early history. 

Hugh Graham became known widely throughout his 
adopted state of Tennessee through his real estate transactions, 
his ready support of the religious and educational activities of his 
brother William, and through purchases from the mercantile 
establishments in Philadelphia and Baltimore. The Grahams 
were Scottish Presbyterians who lived for some time in Northern 
Ireland before they migrated to America. By 1830, Hugh had 
carved a separate career with emphasis on quality merchandise 
and intellectual leadership. 

Throughout most of his life as a merchant, Hugh Graham 
made use of a new breed of wagon drivers to bring directly 
to Tazewell merchandise from such eastern port cities as 
Philadelphia and Baltimore. Transportation of merchandise be- 
tween these port cities by means of packet lines became routine 
by 1830; from Baltimore to Tazewell wagon trains were used. 
The following illustrations reveals the costs of such transporta- 
tion. On June 25, 1833, the wagoner Joseph Ryan received 
$179 from Hugh Graham for hauling 1436 pounds of merchan- 
dise from Baltimore to Tazewell. A month later another driver, 
James Barassions, charged Graham $229.89 for hauling 4319 
pounds of merchandise from Baltimore to Tazewell. By the 
1830s Tazewell also had become a stopping point on a stage line 
that came down the Kentucky Road to Tazewell and on across 
Clinch Mountain to southern points. 

Graham also bought quality merchandise from such 
Knoxville wholesalers as Gammons, Gaines, and Company, the 
successors of Williams and Company. One such purchase orig- 
inated in Charleston, South Carolina, on December 25, 1851, 
and came part way by railway freight on the Western and Atlan- 
tic Railroad. Graham bought much of his tobacco merchandise 
from Andrew Padlock of Harrodsburg, Kentucky. One such 
shipment occurred on June 14, 1833, consisting of nine boxes of 
Miles's "segars" at $ 1 1 .68 per box, eight dozen paper cut and dry 
tobacco at $8, and five boxes of tobacco at $84.50 

Despite the presence of numerous prime settlement loca- 


Tennessee County History Series 

Parkey House, built by William Graham about 
1816; a focal point on Kentucky Road and a 
center of area political life. Although the house is 
no longer standing, the site is listed on the 
National Register. 

Shell Hotel in Tazewell 


tions of salt licks in the county, there was still a strong demand 
for imported salt. By 1830, the county's population of 8470 
persons was greater than that of any neighboring counties, ex- 
cept Knox; therefore, an increased demand for the preservative 
existed. From time to time, Graham bought many barrels of salt 
from Hugh White, a well-known name in Tennessee history. 

The Graham brothers, especially Hugh, became known 
throughout the eastern United States as gentlemen with literary 
tastes. Knowledgeable people of that time believed that Hugh 
Graham's personal library was one of the best in the South. By 
1850, he subscribed to the New York Journal of Commerce, Puritan 
Recorder, LitteWs Living Age, American and Foreign Christian Union, 
Presbyterian of the West, Missionary Herald, British and North 
American Review, and magazines from Philadelphia and 
Baltimore, which were for sale in his store and for his own use. 
He offered a wide assortment of books which possibly em- 
phasized religion. Examples of these books were Shield's 
and Whiteman Rutter's Spelling Books, Small Primers, American 
Primers, Goddard's Hymns, English Readers, Hervey's Meditation, 
Hall's United States. Pilgrim's Progress, Walker's Dictionary and 
Kirkham's Grammar. Edw 7 ard Littell, one of the nation's best 
known literary publishers and critics of the time, enjoyed a 
vigorous correspondence with Graham, referring to him as 
"my ancient correspondent." 

Sales at Graham's store were conducted on a credit basis 
which resulted in some debtors resorting to surrender of their 
lands or chattels. In spite of this, the volume of his business was 
great enough that he survived the ups and downs of price levels. 
There was some evidence that by the 1850s business had slowed 
up so that he resorted more frequently to foreclosures; however, 
most of his customers remained solvent. The list of names in his 
account book indicated that his store was the leading institution 
of its kind in the county at that time. In 184(5, there were 500 
names in his account books, some of whom were Elizabeth Buis, 
Martin Burchfield, J. Chadwick, W. R. Evans, David Fullington, 
John Hurst, David Lambert, Joseph Large, John Mason, 
Michael Montgomery, John Pearson, and John W. White. 

Over the period of 20 years from 1822 to 1842, Hugh 


Tennessee County History Series 


&-5K r 

BRK . I 


Castle Rock, home of Hugh Graham in Tazewell. This photograph was 
made long after Graham's death. 

Graham continued to acquire land, especially in the Tazewell 
area along Russell Creek and up to a town spring at Academy 
Hollow. Some of this land, probably six and one-half acres, was 
bought from Tennessee Margraves and surveyed by Walter 
Evans. This location placed Graham in a position to tap the 
lucrative traffic which followed the Kentucky Road and to afford 
the beautiful home site on which he built "Castle Rock" in 1842. 
On September 27, of that year, Graham entered into a con- 
tract with Wesley Chittum to build his castle. Interestingly 
enough, the Chittums still remain well-known home builders. 
The house was to be a two-story brick structure, 42 feet long and 
32 feet wide, with a two-story ell 32 feet by 22 feet. The first floor 
ceiling was 1 1 feet and the upper story ten feet, with a brick 
cornice to the ell and the main house. Two fireplaces were at the 
south end of the house and two at the north. Graham had as 
many doors and windows as he desired. The ell was used as a 
kitchen and dining room. The inside walls were not to exceed 
two courses of salmon brick laid together, and the hard brick 


between the outside courses were painted white. The contrac- 
tors fired the brick and prepared other materials from local 
sources. Chittum built this castle within 12 months for the price 
of $1400, that was paid as follows: $300 in 12 months, another 
$300 in one year, $400 in one payment, and the remaining $400 
paid in goods from Graham's store. 

"Castle Rock" became a noted Tazewell fixture and was 
presided over by Graham and his gracious wife, Catherine 
Nenney Graham, a native of Bent Creek, Tennessee, whose ex- 
pensive tastes set the style for local society. Together with the 
Fulkersons, the Hughes, the Pattersons, and the Sewells, an ac- 
tive social life in this thriving county seat town was built only to be 
devastated too soon by the fratricidal strife of the Civil War. 

Grist Mill Communities 

From 1801 to 1901, life in Claiborne County revolved, to a 
considerable extent, around the grist mill. These ubiquitous 
facilities, so characteristic of the invading civilization, sprung up 
throughout the county wherever underground and run-off wa- 
ter furnished enough power. The enumeration of each mill in 
the county and the relationship of the mills' historical develop- 
ment to county life would require extensive space; therefore, a 
limited number of illustrations will be cited. 

The exploitation of water resources in Lonesome Valley was 
proof of man's ability to use his talents and to develop through 
hard work communities marked by industrial activity, religion, 
schools, and vigorous social life. These work communities re- 
volved around those activities which served as catalysts to the 
community just as crossroads country stores did. It was the triad 
of school, church, and industry that produced a thriving com- 
munity. These developments were initiated in Lonesome Valley 
with a grist mill built by Jonathan Mayes who came there in the 
early 1800s. Timber was abundant, proving the fertility of the 
soil, and water was everywhere due to heavy rainfall. Springs, 
some large enough to pour 2500 gallons a minute into the main 
stream, existed all along the valley floor, Mayes, a millwright, set 
up a grist mill on the Lonesome Valley Creek using only the 
normal flow of water in the initial stages. Later, after he became 


Tennessee County History Series 

Mayes-Holt home in Lonesome Valley. From this site 
Jonathan Mayes began his milling enterprises. Several gen- 
erations of Holts and Mayeses were born here. 

well established, he moved to another location downstream. His 
log home was located on a knoll above the creek. 

Mayes and his wife Polly had four children, one of whom was 
Jerrield D., born in 1814. He and his son, James, served in the 
Union Army during the Civil War. Before and after his military 
service, J. D. Mayes carried on the mill tradition. Eventually, he 
built a rolling mill that ran day and night after two dams were 
built upstream to impound the water. 

This was not the end of the water-powered saga because 
Mayes's upstream neighbors also built an impoundment dam, 
erected a grist mill operated by Dr. Willis Baldwin, and a carding 
mill, operated by Andrew Bellamy, which cleaned wool from 
sheep which were raised nearby. After the water was used for 
these mills, it was directed across the valley floor to the area 
known as the "sinks." There, it powered the sawmill that sup- 
plied lumber and lumber products to a wide area. 

On the same side of the valley floor and across a road which 
led sharply upward to a productive farming area was an eco- 
nomically important blacksmith shop. This smithy used coke, 
also produced on nearby family farms. 


Sarah C. Mayes, daughter of J. D. Mayes, married Newton 
LaFayette Holt after he had obtained the best education avail- 
able in the post-Civil War period by graduating from the 
Tazewell Academy and from the Abingdon Academy at Abing- 
don, Virginia. The sons of J. D., Daniel H., and W. S. Mayes and 
Holt then established a general merchandise store which soon 
became known as the N. L. Holt General Merchandise Store. It 
drew customers from most of Claiborne County, as well as from 
Virginia and Kentucky. The grist, flour, and saw mills, and the 
blacksmith shop together provided irresistible lures to custom- 
ers. In the 1890s a post office was established in one of the 
two Holt store buildings and operated as Duo, Tennessee, 
until 1906. 

Upstream from the Mayes mill, Dr. Willis Baldwin estab- 
lished an essential part of the growing Lonesome Valley Com- 
munity. He married Callie Bellamy, daughter of Orleana Mayes 
Bellamy and Walker Bellamy. When J. D. and James Mayes 
entered the Union Army, they relied upon Bellamy to educate 
the children — Daniel H., William C, and Sara Katherine — and 
to teach them the principles of Christian faith. Writing from his 
post in Nashville, Mayes urged Bellamy to "teach Katie her 
letters." Katie later was known as "Aunt Kate" to the hundreds of 
customers who flocked to Holt's general store. 

At least three grist mills operated in the Barren Creek Com- 
munity, one of which was the present Johnson mill that supplies 
water-ground corn meal to the passing public. Another mill was 
located on the John Chumley farm, which with the aid of up- 
stream dams, developed into a flour mill. The third was oper- 
ated by John Thompson. In 1917 a catastrophic flood created 
from a cloudburst-size rainfall burst the upstream dams and 
swept away the mills. Sixteen persons who lived along the stream 
were drowned. Barren Creek recovered from this tragedy and 
mill activity returned. Forty years later, a large embayment of 
Clinch River, which was impounded by Norris Dam in 1936, 
brought an altogether different life-style to the hundreds of 
local and visiting people who built homes along its shores or 
fished its waters. 

Grist mill economy greatly affected life in the Powell Valley 
during the land rush period. David William Rogers ( 1 799- 1833) 


Tennessee County History Series 

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel H. Mayes; he was the grand- 
son of Jonathan Mayes. 

Good friends and leading citizens: seated second from left, Pleasant H. 
Poore, Duo postmaster; seated third from left, Tom Lambert; standing 
extreme right, Sam Richardson, merchant and farmer; standing second 
from right, Newton Lafayette Holt, merchant and farmer. 


was the first of that family to settle in the valley. He and his sons 
built a log dam to impound water and then constructed a grist 
mill. This mill remained in action throughout the century. In 
1900 the family dismantled the old log dam and replaced it with 
one made from quarried limestone. In 1976 the Tennessee 
Department of Agriculture awarded the family a certificate of 
honor for having farmed the same land for at least a century, so 
designating the Rogers Brothers Farms as a century farm. Other 
century farms include the Holt farm in Lonesome Valley, oper- 
ated by Edgar A. and Alice Holt, and the Pearson farm on Little 
Sycamore, operated by Henry Pearson. 

About one-half mile from the "sinks" of Lonesome Valley 
Creek was Mayes Chapel Methodist Church. It was built of logs 
initially, then later of wood siding, and finally of brick. This 
church, along with neighboring Baptist churches, taught area 
people through revival meetings and through a generally de- 
voted clergy who created among the people a lively sense of their 
moral obligations to God and to their fellow man. 

Upstream, above what came to be known as Holt Cave, the 
county constructed Mayes Elementary School, a public school. 
In its early years, the school term was four or five months long, 
but by 1900, as the county's ability to finance increased, the 
school year was extended to eight or nine months. During the 
years, many parents subscribed funds to employ teachers for 
subscription schools. Schools became the center of most com- 
munity-wide activities such as dramas which instructed the 
youth and entertained the adults. At one time early in the 1900s, 
that area's population was such that more than 100 pupils were 
enrolled in the Mayes Elementary School. This school and its 
building now have given away to consolidation, but many of its 
graduates have made outstanding contributions to county life, 
and five of them obtained doctorates. A graduate of this 
Lonesome Valley school, Luther Mayes, after receiving his de- 
gree from the University of Tennessee's -College of Agriculture, 
served as Claiborne County's agricultural agent; Perry E. 
DuBusk and Walter E. Baldwin both served as county superin- 
tendent of schools; Alfred Baldwin served as principal of the 
Claiborne County High School; and James W. Baldwin was a 
member of the faculty of the University of Texas. 


Tennessee County History Series 


Organization of Religious Groups 

Religious faith accompanied the westward movement of 
white men into what is now Claiborne County. This is not to say 
that all frontiersmen were pious or even observers of the Ten 
Commandments but most of them held to a deeply-rooted faith. 
Organized religious practices varied from the structured faith of 
the Presbyterians to the Baptists whose churches were congrega- 
tionally controlled and thus differed from one church to the 
other. Such tidewater churches as the Episcopalians were few in 
number on the frontier and usually limited to missions. Among 
all the denominations except perhaps the Episcopal, the word to 
the faithful was carried by itinerant ministers on horseback. 
Some, such as Peter Cartwright, had enormous powers of per- 
suasion — sometimes sufficient to quell the most obstinate 
ruffian. In contrast to Cartwright, the frail Bishop Asbury of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church prepared the way, far and wide for 
the growth of Methodism on the frontier. The bishop's ardent 
belief in God's invitation to men to turn away from sin more than 
compensated for his physical weakness, and he converted many. 

During the first 20 years of the nineteenth century, the Great 
Awakening which began in New England exercised enormous 
influence on the New West. Many communities held camp meet- 
ing revivals attended by whole families who brought food and 
shelter for weeks of singing, shouting, praying, and preaching; 
the results of such intense experiences occasionally brought 
strange manifestations of the Holy Spirit at work. Camp meet- 
ings did influence the growth of churches of the county with the 
Baptist and Methodist groups gaining number more rapidly 
than the Presbyterians. For that reason, the establishment of the 
Presbyterian church in Tazewell is significant. It was a successful 
church long past the lifetimes of its creators and supporters, 
William and Hugh Graham. William's considerable wealth and 
high level of education added to an earnest desire to promote 
the church and education. He gave support to Tazewell College 
for many years. 

The establishment and growth of the Baptist church in 
Tazewell was closely linked with that of the Presbyterian church. 


Tennessee County History Series 

Scene of many Sunday afternoon outings, a water-powered sawmill at 
the "sinks" of the creek in Lonesome Valley. 

The Presbyterians encouraged their Baptist brethren and even 
obtained the site for the Baptist church. Continuing into mod- 
ern times, the spiritual descendants of Roger Williams have 
prospered in Claiborne County. Almost every community has a 
Baptist church. 

It is difficult to measure separately the effect of churches on 
life in Claiborne County. What is almost certain is that wherever 
the practice of the faith was combined with formal or informal 
education and industry, the results have been good. 

Civil War Period 

As controversy divided the nation in the years preceding the 
actual outbreak of Civil War violence, the people of Claiborne 
County also were divided. The division sometimes erupted with- 
in families, and often neighbors took opposite sides. Even so, 
without the compelling pressure from Washington and the 
southern states which led secessionist sentiment, the Claiborne 


people possibly would not have taken arms. In the first place, 
there was strong Unionist sentiment throughout the county, and 
slavery was much less important in the area than in other parts of 
Tennessee where larger plantations existed. Furthermore, the 
county's economy was related more to that of its northern neigh- 
bor than to that of Nashville or Memphis. For many years, the 
Whigs of East Tennessee had sided with northern Whigs to 
establish a national banking system, to promote internal im- 
provement through the use of Federal funds, and even to sup- 
port a moderate protective tariff. Except for a relatively small 
group of vocal abolitionists, the anti-slavery movement had not 
yet been able to dominate either the Democrats, trje Whigs, or 
the newly formed Republican party. 

However, the national election of 1860 clearly indicated divi- 
sions in the political parties, and the slavery issue gained import- 
ance. It could no longer be avoided even in Claiborne County. 
The leading merchant, Hugh Graham, carried on a most reveal- 
ing correspondence with Edward Littell, who regarded slavery 
as a great moral wrong but thought that the controversy was so 
dangerous to national unity that politicians should not endanger 
the Union by needless conflict. As a border state, Tennessee 
delayed its choice until the very last moment and then followed, 
reluctantly, her sister states into the ranks of the Confederacy. 
Ironically, the Confederate leader Jefferson Davis was born in 
Kentucky near the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln who pledged 
himself to save the Union. 

The course of economic and political events in Claiborne 
County was a matter for individual choice. Claiborne County, 
along with other East Tennessee counties, furnished thousands 
of troops to the Union Army. The Union Army organized its 
Tennessee recruits into three cavalry and four infantry regi- 
ments. On May 9, 1861, Tennessee Governor Isham G. Harris 
organized a provisional army which became part of the Con- 
federate forces on July 31, 1861. Harris appointed Gideon J. 
Pillow and Samuel R. Anderson as major generals and Felix K. 
Zolicoffer as brigadier general. Five infantry and one cavalry 
regiment were placed into Confederate service. The volunteer 
tradition clearly was upheld once again. 

34 Tennessee County History Series 

Company L of the First Tennessee Cavalry Regiment was 
first organized as a six-month company in Claiborne County and 
then was ordered into permanent service by Lieutenant Ceneral 
James Longstreet in March of 1864. Another county unit, Com- 
pany F of the same regiment, was organized in the county and 
was commanded by R. Frank Fulkerson. 

No major military operations took place in Claiborne Coun- 
ty, but there was almost continuous activity by quartermaster 
units to supply fighting forces. Company-size engagements did 
occur in the Tazewell area irregularly throughout the conflict 
and engagements between regiment forces took place in the 
Cumberland Cap area. Cumberland Cap had great strategic 
importance and, for that reason, the defending force cleared the 
approaches to the Pinnacle and adjoining crests early in the war 
so as to afford the defenders free fields of fire. Confederate 
troops also had a cannon, dubbed Long Tom, which could 
put down destructive fire on targets as far away as Patterson's 

The Confederates moved company units through and 
around Claiborne County, usually to counter the thrusts of 
Federal troops to insure control of Cumberland Cap. On June 
30, 1862, a company from Ashby's Ceorgia Regiment defeated a 
Federal force at Lead Mine Bend on Powell River. Then on 
August 17 at Cumberland Ford, the Confederates attacked a 
Federal unit which lost 60 men. The same Confederates on 
August 29 killed six men, wounded a like number, and took 19 
prisoners at Roger's Cap. Apparently, the Confederates under 
the command of Major Ceneral John P. McCown at Cumber- 
land Cap felt secure enough to send Ceneral Kirby Smith's 
legion together with units under Colonel Ashby and Major 
Slaughter to Flat Lick, Kentucky. 

Fluidity characterized the battle situation of the antagonists 
in many instances from the start to the end of hostilities. For 
example, Captain E. D. Baxter's Tennessee Light Artillery Com- 
pany was at Shelby ville in December of 1862 but moved to 
Cumberland Gap in January-February of 1863, to Bean's Sta- 
tion in April, to Cumberland Gap in May, and to Knoxville on 
June 26, 1863. 


The lack of enough or the right kind of weapons sometimes 
determined the function or movement of Confederate troops. 
For example, Captain William H. Burroughs Tennessee Light 
Artillery Company was mustered in Camp Sneed at Knoxille on 
August 19, 1861, but due to the lack of artillery it was trans- 
formed to an infantry company for a time. Weapons arrived in 
October of 1861, and the company was ordered to Cumberland 
Gap to take charge of the artillery at that post. This Company 
was extremely active, fighting heavy engagements on March 22, 
and April 9, 1862. It remained at Cumberland Gap until June 
18, 1862, when it moved to Cedar Fork, Tennessee. As a part of 
Taylor's Brigade, it was under fire in Tazewell without having an 
assigned battle mission. When General Kirby Smith invaded 
Kentucky, this company moved back to Cumberland Gap to 
withstand a siege. 

Again, this light artillery company illustrated the mobility of 
smaller units in the Claiborne County area. In October, its sta- 
tion was Sevier, but in December of 1 862 it was again at Cumber- 
land Gap, where it remained until April of 1863 when it was 
transferred to Brigadier General A. E.Jackson's Brigade under 
General Zolicoffer's command. It then moved to Bluff City, 
but remained with Zollicoffer until September of 1863. 
Burrough's Company, one of the first companies organized in 
East Tennessee, fought almost four years in East Tennessee and 
served throughout the war under the same captain. 

As the Federal noose tightened around the Confederacy in 
other sections, it became impossible to hold Cumberland Gap. 
As its commander, Brigadier General Frazier, fought the last 
days of the war in this bastion, he had under his command, 
besides infantry units, Karn's Battery armed with two 12-pound 
and two six-pound guns commanded by Lieutenant O'Conner. 
General Frazier surrendered his forces at Cumberland Gap to 
General Burnside on September 9, 1863. 

Before the final confrontation at the Gap, the activities of 
other units in the county contributed to that event. Early in 1 862, 
Companies A, B, C, D, and E of the First Tennessee Infantry 
Regiment left their Knoxville station and went to Cumberland 
Gap to serve under Major General Kirby E. Smith. On August 6, 

36 Tennessee County History Series 

1862, units of the 59th Tennessee Infantry Regiment defeated 
Federal troops under Colonel John F. DeCoursy near Tazewell. 
Records of the Tazewell Baptist Church reported weekly visits 
by Federal troops that forced the church to close for months. 

From the Tazewell engagement this unit of the 59th went to 
aid in the defense of Cumberland Gap after which they went to 
Kentucky with General Braxton Bragg's army. It is likely that the 
Tazewell battle with Colonel DeCoursey's troops resulted in the 
great Tazewell fire of 1 862. It was watched with dismay by Hugh 
Graham, whose "Castle Rock" home escaped destruction but 
afforded a ringside seat for the battle. A friend visiting there 
looked from a window and thought the world, as he knew it, 
was lost. 

The 17th Tennessee Infantry Regiment entered Confeder- 
ate service at Big Creek, Campbell County, and in August of 
1861 came under the command of Zollicoffer at Cumberland 
Gap, where it remained until February of 1862. This regiment 
fought an engagement at Rock Castle, Kentucky, on October 2 1 , 
1862, and at Fishing Creek, Kentucky, on November 17 and 19. 
The 17th and 19th Regiments were at Jacksboro; the 19th went 
to Wild Cat, Kentucky, but not to battle. It fought a heavy 
engagement at Fishing Creek on January 17 where Zollicoffer 
was killed and Colonel Camrin took command. Legend tells that 
by accident some of Zollicoffer's own men met him in heavy 
brush and accidentally killed him. 

The physical devastation of Claiborne County that resulted 
from the Civil War was considerably less that what occurred in 
other parts of the South where large forces engaged in bloody 
combat. Throughout large portions of the South, society was in 
almost complete chaos, so a first requisite was maintenance of 
order. In such instances, this was insured to some degree by the 
presence of Federal troops. 

Tennessee had seceded long after other border states, and 
furthermore a large segment of its population had remained 
loyal to the Union. These circumstances led to the decision by 
the Republican party to nominate Andrew Johnson of Green- 
ville as its candidate for the vice-presidency. The political pur- 
pose of this ploy was not only to reward those who had remained 



Cumberland Gap in 1862, with the mountainsides cleared for battle. 

Photograph courtesy of the National Park Service. 

loyal to the Union but to remove from the Republican Party the 
radicalism which clung to the Free Soilers. Andrew Johnson had 
served as governor of Tennessee, at least in those parts under 
the control of Federal troops. It was only natural and in keeping 
with Johnson's views on the constitution that he took rapid steps 
toward the restoration of Tennessee to the Union. 

In 1864 Lincoln perceived that a presidential election must, 
at all costs, be held even in the midst of war. Some, like Horace 
Greeley, had urged negotiation and of course there were those 
who were bitterly critical of President Lincoln. The Democratic 
Party was divided badly and the majority of its members prob- 
ably voted for the National Union Party, so designated for the 
election, because of Johnson's appeal as a life-long Democrat. 
However, General George B. McClellan had a magic appeal 
because of his war record and received 3,600,000 popular and 
21 electoral votes as compared with Lincoln's 4,000,000 popular 
votes and 212 electoral votes. 

Confederate soldiers came back to Claiborne County after 

38 Tennessee County History Series 

their commands surrendered as did those who had served in the 
Union Army. The people of the county were ready to work as 
thev had before the war. In the light of the prevalence of feuding 
as a method of settling immediate disputes in the Appalachian 
region, it is remarkable that Union and Confederate veterans 
for the most part established peaceable relations with each other. 
These veterans often met together at the N. L. Holt General 
Merchandise Store in Lonesome Valley where the closest 
approach to physical combat occurred in very serious horseshoe 
pitching contests. Among the returned veterans in Lonesome 
Valley were Jerrield D. and James D. Mayes. 

Slave labor had been only a small part of the county's labor 
force; most slaves had, in fact, been household servants. Legend 
has it that when owners freed their slaves prior to the war, the 
new freedman were permitted to live on the end of the farms 
which covered the Hoop Creek Community, a prosperous farm- 
ing community where a small population of blacks still lives. All 
other black citizens in 1865, as well as now, resided in the two 
Tazewells. The total population of blacks in the county has 
remained small — a total of 314 in 1965. 

The long-range effects of the Civil War on Claiborne County 
are difficult to gauge except for the overwhelming industrial 
development that followed throughout the Northeast, the Mid- 
West and the West. In fact, the war unleashed dreams of railroad 
builders, manufacturers, and bankers. Claiborne, like other East 
Tennessee counties, was left in a backwash. Consequently, the 
population growth was lessened by the drainage of people to the 
West and the new lands. However, the county's population con- 
tinued to increase slowly due to the high birth rate, and this 
trend continued until World Wars I and II witnessed a decline. 

With only a slight bow to the National Union Party beneath 
whose banner Lincoln, the railsplitter, and Johnson, the tailor, 
won the election of 1865, the new party dropped the war win- 
ning name and returned to the name of the Republican party. It 
remained dedicated to protection against foreign imports, west- 
ward expansion, assistance to railroads, and a system of national 
banks geared to the needs of an expanding economy. In 


Claiborne County, the most effective party appeal was to the 
aura of Abraham Lincoln who was assassinated by actor John 
Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater on Good Friday of 1 865. This act 
rendered Lincoln a martyr of the causes for which he labored so 
effectively, especially for the Union and, at long last, for free- 
dom to the slaves. 

There ensued a period when allied and divergent trends 
took form based partly on a recognition of Lincoln's heartfelt 
aims including the restoration of the Union. There was, how- 
ever, a vindictive view held by radical Republicans that the 
rebellion should be crushed forever by bringing to trial the chief 
leaders of the Confederacy. Before they could have full con- 
frontation with Lincoln, he was assassinated, and Johnson be- 
came president. Lincoln's natural sympathy for those who had 
borne the shock of battle and remained loyal to the Union had 
been expressed to a military aide, General Oliver Otis Howard, 
when he said that those in East Tennessee, especially those in the 
Cumberland Gap area, should be rewarded by receiving a school 
for the mountain people. This view was kept alive and eventually 
led to the establishment of Lincoln Memorial University. 

Annanias Honey cutt versus the State of Tennessee 

In the period of unrest following the war, assaults against 
people or property were not uncommon in Claiborne County. It 
was characteristic of the hill people to defend themselves against 
real or fancied wrongs and to show considerable reluctance in 
calling upon others for protection. Among the many assault and 
battery cases presented to the county court was one which 
changed from common assault to murder and which was to have 
far-reaching effects because it ended in a public execution. In a 
1965 article in the Tennessee Conservationist Earl Shaub noted that 
the pressures to abolish capital punishment had been influenced 
by the "horrible public executions of the past." He cited as the 
most outstanding public hanging in Tennessee the execution of 
Annanias Honeycutt in Claiborne County in 1875. 

The hanging was witnessed by 5000 to 6000 people, many 
arriving in family wagons supplied for a picnic. According to 

40 Tennessee County History Series 

legend, Frank James came from Missouri to visit friends and to 
see the hanging which took place in "Academy Hollow" near the 
Kentucky Road. Widespread disapproval followed the event 
because of its public nature and the fact that Honeycutt pro- 
tested his innocence to the last. 

Considerable excitement and some confusion surround- 
ed the incident and confession of Honeycutt to the killing of 
Thomas Ausmus. Ausmus and Honeycutt were both residents 
of Powell Valley. Honeycutt was arrested about a week after the 
murder in a location about 100 miles from Powell Valley. When 
told that he was being arrested for the murder of Ausmus, he 
stated that his actions had been in self-defense following a dis- 
pute with Ausmus over a hog. He stated that he had hit Ausmus 
with a rock three times but did not kill him and that he had left 
Ausmus with another man named Greenlee. During the trip 
back to Claiborne County, Honeycutt repeated this story with 
accompanying details. During the initial hearing, it was proved 
that Greenlee had not been with the two men. While being 
questioned at the scene of the murder, Honeycutt was reported 
to have confessed planning to kill Ausmus, but others present 
during this time later testified that they did not hear Honeycutt 
make this confession. On the way back to Tazewell from Powell 
Valley, Honeycutt volunteered the information that he had 
killed Ausmus for his money. 

Honeycutt sought a change of venue on the grounds of 
undue excitement at the time of the incident, but the court ruled 
that there was no evidence of such excitement at the time of the 
trial and therefore a change was not justified. Honeycutt also 
requested the court to set aside confessions which he had made 
on the grounds that they were made out of fear and in order to 
gain clemency, but the court held that such statements were 
admissable as evidence. Other evidence included the nature of 
the wounds on Ausmus's head which could have been made by 
rocks and the fact that bloody rocks were found on the ground 
near the body. Although the ground was wet and soft, there 
was nothing indicating a scuffle. Ausmus and Honeycutt were 
tracked from the road to the hollow where the killing occurred, 


and Honeycutt fled from the area the same evening. In spite of 
Honeycutt's appeals, the guilty verdict was upheld, and the court 
ordered the sentence carried out. 

Many of the spectators grew impatient for the hanging as 
they waited around noontime in "Academy Hollow," site of the 
Posey spring. Fifty guards surrounded the wagon when it 
appeared with the doomed man on his coffin accompanied by 
two preachers. The wagon stopped immediately under the 
noose and the proceedings were opened by the Reverend Billy 
Crutchfield with Bible reading and a hymn, followed by prayer 
and an hour long sermon with vivid descriptions of heaven and 
hell. Then the Reverend Greer took over and exhorted the 
crowd until after 2:00 p.m. 

The prisoner was then asked to speak. Standing beside his 
coffin, he invited the crowd to meet him in heaven. Greer gave 
him a white handkerchief and requested him, if he were inno- 
cent, to shift it from hand to hand during his dying moments. 
Honeycutt then shook hands with the preachers and told the 
sheriff that he was ready. The sheriff placed a black cap over the 
prisoner's head and face and adjusted the noose. Then the 
wagon moved forward leaving the prisoner struggling in the air 
but shifting the handkerchief from hand to hand. At about 2:30 
p.m. the body was cut down, and Honeycutt's family took it home 
for burial. Since that day in 1875, no person has suffered capital 
punishment in Claiborne County. 


Claiborne County began the first century of its existence with 
the benefit of a large proportion of educated citizens whose 
schooling and experience had been gained in the tidewater 
regions of the original thirteen colonies or in continental or 
British schools. Educated gentlemen of the day and time usually 
had the advantage of classical backgrounds, including Latin and 
Greek, and were grounded firmly in mathematics. Formal 
education gained in American schools usually was the result of 
tutelage in church-connected academies and colleges. Most of 
these institutions had been established primarily to educate 

42 Tennessee County History Series 

prospective ministers or secondly to educate young people to the 
extent that they could understand and act favorably on religious 
instruction. The reading of early deeds, wills, and court records 
indicate that the level of education was higher in 1801, when 
Claiborne County first gained its corporate existence, than in 
1860 when the nation was on the edge of the Civil War. More 
citizens signed their names with an x in 1850, for example, than 
in 1801. Personnel of the first courts were appointed by the 
governor, and it was only natural that the more literate members 
of his acquaintance would be selected. There usually were polit- 
ical and economic connections as well. 

Throughout the county's first 50 years of existence tax- 
supported schools rarely existed, public consensus being in 
favor of placing the responsibility on parents alone for the 
education of their children. However, there were schoolmasters 
wandering through the backcountry who made themselves 
available for modest tuition charges. In more affluent communi- 
ties of the seaboard or in the plantation south, after the rise of 
cotton, many wealthy planters sent their sons to theological or 
military schools while their daughters learned the requirements 
of polite society in female institutions. These areas, however, 
were quite unlike the hill country of the Appalachian South. 
Quite clearly the effects of the old Tazewell College, created by 
private donations of such high-minded men as William Graham 
in the 1830s, helped to maintain some learning in Claiborne 

Lincoln Memorial University 

It truthfully may be said that Lincoln Memorial University 
had its beginning in the autumn of 1863 during discussions 
between General Howard and President Lincoln. With his hand 
placed upon Howard's shoulder, Lincoln made the following 

Howard, if you come out of all this horror and misery alive, 
and I hope that you may, I want you to do something for these 
people who have been shut out from all the world all these 
years. If I live, I will do all I can to aid you and between us we 


may do them the justice they deserve. Please remember, and if 
God is good to us we may he able to speak of it later! 

Howard remembered and in due time the desire of the Great 
Emancipator reached its fruition. 

When the Civil War closed, the men returning to this region 
found their families and their homes suffering from the ravages 
of war. They found themselves little better off than had been the 
early settlers during the time of Daniel Boone and John Sevier. 
People naturally thought of food, clothing, and shelter before 
education; so it was not surprising that for several years little 
provision was made for schools. Many children of the 1870s 
grew up without the benefit of schooling; some never learning to 
read or to write even their names. 

Within this mountain region large enough for a small empire 
was a territory untouched by railroads until the late 1880s or 
early 1890s. Almost the only locomotion was by foot or horse- 
back. The surface of the country was a succession of ridges and 
valleys, and often the people in one valley knew little about those 
on the opposite side of the ridge. There was, in fact, scarcely any 
land suitable for cultivation except south of the Cumberland 
Mountains, and the coal and timber interests had not been 
developed yet. But here in this vast region were the people 
whose hardy men had been among the first to answer their 
country's call. 

Churches from the commercial and manufacturing sections 
of the North and East saw the opportunity for noble service. The 
Congregational Church, under the management of the Amer- 
ican Missionary Association, and its leaders preached the Gospel 
and organized elementary schools throughout the rural areas 
and high schools in the small towns. The success of these workers 
cannot be measured accurately, but certainly their tireless 
efforts had much to do toward training boys and girls to become 
useful citizens and leaders of their own people. 

About 1877, the American Missionary Association sent the 
Reverend A. A. Myers from Wisconsin, a Congregational minis- 
ter, to further the church's work. Myers was the right man for 
the task; since he had the physical strength necessary to adjust to 
the pioneer life of the region, a thorough education, and a 

44 Tennessee County History Series 

natural gift of oratory that won him many loyal friends and 
followers. He entered into his work wholeheartedly and spent 30 
years of his life serving the people he loved and respected. He 
went from house to house, sharing the hospitality of the moun- 
tain people, sitting by their firesides and talking with them of the 
most intimate experiences of their lives. In this manner, he 
learned firsthand their needs and discovered their aspirations. 
He held prayer meetings and preached the Gospel wherever 
people assembled, and wherever he could, he organized 
elementary schools. Beginning first in the vicinity of Berea, 
Kentucky, he worked his way east and south, and for awhile 
made his headquarters at Williamsburg, Kentucky. 

In 1888, Myers and his wife first came to Cumberland Gap, 
where at a Wednesday evening prayer meeting he introduced 
himself to the leader, saying that he had come to see if there was 
a chance to open a school there. As a result, he opened an 
elementary school in the village, where his wife taught while he 
made his rounds as a minister. 

It was about this time that the L & N Railroad was put 
through to Shawanee, Tennessee, and afterwards to Norton, 
Virginia, and the road to Knoxville also was opened. These 
developments brought many changes and generated many 
ambitious projects. The coal mines and their interests developed 
rapidly. All things seemed to point to Middlesboro's becoming 
a manufacturing city, as well as the center of the coal indus- 
try. Cumberland Gap seemed destined to become a thriving 
town with Harrogate as a residential suburb for Middlesboro 

Promoters were so confident that the capitalists spent some 
$2 million to make Harrogate into a great health and pleasure 
resort. The extravagant Four Seasons Hotel was said by its 
promoters to be the largest hotel in the United States at that 
time. Built at a cost of $75,000, it was four stories high with a 
frontage of 700 feet, a lobby of 75 square feet, and a dining room 
50 by 160 feet. A railroad to be used for private cars was built 
from Arthur to where the Lincoln University now stands. Not 
content to stop there, the promoters built the Cumberland Gap 


Hotel and another hotel, Harrogate Inn, where the Grace 
Nettleton home once stood. The latter resort opened in 1892, 
but was doomed for failure within a year. After being sold to a 
contractor for $25,000, the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel was 
dismantled and moved away to Chicago piece by piece. The 
other buildings fell into disuse and the 600-acre farm was rented 

One man's loss was another's gain and the Reverend Myers 
saw the possibility of using these buildings for schools. He 
purchased the hotel at Cumberland Gap and turned it into 
Harrow Hall High School. The elementary schools already set 
up served as feeders for this school, but Myers sought a place 
where these students could receive a college education. One 
building left on the grounds of the Four Seasons Hotel, the 
Sanatorium, was used by Myers to start operations for college 
studies. The school would expand as it was able, and the large 
farm would furnish work for the boys. He proceeded to ascer- 
tain the market value of the property, and took an option on it. 
Here should be a college within the reach of every earnest youth 
of the area. 

In his autobiography, General Howard wrote of being called 
to Cumberland Gap for a lecture in 1895. According to his 
account, the Honorable Darwin R. James of New York, the 
Reverend Fred B. Avery of Ohio, and Howard, with some 
others, sat one evening on the Harrow School porch discussing 
what should be done with the school since it was in financial 
distress. The discussion probably brought to mind the request 
Lincoln had made in 1863, whereupon Howard remarked: 
"Friends, if you will make this school a larger enterprise I will 
take hold and do what I can." 

On February 12, 1897, Myers met with M. F. Overton, C. F. 
Eager, A. B. Kesterson, and Dr. Macaulay Arthur to draft a 
charter and to apply for incorporation for an institution to 
be called, at General Howard's suggestion, Lincoln Memorial 
University, a living memorial to Abraham Lincoln. 

This venture of faith supported by earnest prayer, without a 
dollar in its treasury, backed by no church, fraternity brother- 

"*" Tennessee County History Series 

hood, or class was formed into a plan sufficient to meet the needs 
of a collective vision. The following is an excerpt from this 

To establish and maintain, under the name aforesaid, at or 
near the town of Cumberland Gap, in the county of Claiborne, 
State of Tennessee, United States of America, an educational 
institution comprising various departments or branches bear- 
ing names or other designations to be chosen by said corpora- 
tions, and some of said departments or branches being, at the 
discretion of said corporation, located elsewhere than at or 
near said town of Cumberland Gap. 

Said institution shall be founded and maintained by the cor- 
poration of a grateful people as a monument or memorial to 
Abraham Lincoln . . . and as an expression of renewed good 
will, and fraternal feeling between the people of sections of this 
country once opposed to each other in Civil War, and said 
institution shall promote research, investigation, and experi- 
ment for the extension and application of knowledge and shall 
impart instruction in the various branches of education, sci- 
ence, art, and industry. . . . 

After receiving the charter from Nashville, and with the 
certificate of incorporation, the signers proceeded without delay 
to organize as a board of directors and elected Colonel R. F. 
Patterson, a Confederate veteran, as the sixth member of the 
board. They secured a deed to the Harrogate property and 
began preparing the school. Cyrus Kehr of Illinois was chosen as 
president for three years during which time he prepared the 
property. In 1900, Dr. John Hale Larry of Providence, Rhode 
Island, was chosen as acting president and proceeded to organ- 
ize the school in the old sanatorium, then named Grant-Lee 
Hall, suggesting that in this place the North and South united. In 
this building, 300 feet long, and for part of its length, four stories 
high, were housed the teachers, students, and all classrooms. 
The furnishings and equipment were little more than that of an 
immigrant family. An entire university under a blue and gray 
flag in one building; but zeal and enthusiasm made up for what 
was lacking in physical equipment. In the meanwhile, the school 



48 Tennessee County History Series 

at Harrow was operated as a "Preparatory School to Lincoln 
Memorial University," as printed in its commencement 

General Howard, in the beginning a member of the board of 
directors, succeeded Dr. Gray of Chicago, who was the first 
president of the board, as managing director. In 1907, Howard 
wrote in his autobiography of this greater responsibility: 

I reluctantly consented, but began to work with all the strength 
I could muster. I have had associated with me some noble men, 
and the institution has been steadily progressing until more 
than 500 youth of the mountains are receiving excellent and 
systematic training. The organizing of the institution, the rais- 
ing of funds for its plant, the establishment of an endowment, 
and keeping up the running expenses have been for eleven 
years a decided labor of love. The continued success of this 
enterprise as a last work of an active life I greatly desire and 
earnestly pray for. 

General Howard was indeed a man of great ability and 
proved to be the life of the institution and was a life-long friend 
of education. During the many years he served as commissioner 
of the Freedmen's Bureau, he had established or helped 
to establish 70 schools for both whites and blacks — Howard 
University was one of the first. 

Howard talked, lectured, and wrote, appealing to those peo- 
ple who were able to contribute to this work. He appealed to 
their respect for President Lincoln to help build a living me- 
morial perpetually shaping young lives. He brought into the 
board a number of influential and wealthy men, among whom 
were E. O. Achorn of Boston, Dr. R. James of New York, B. B. 
Herbert of Chicago, the Reverend F. B. Avery of Ohio, Samuel 
P. Avery of Connecticut, and A. L. Seligman of New York. On 
February 11, 1 90 1 , he held a celebration of Lincoln's birthday at 
Carnegie Hall in New York City, that was attended by a large 
number of the country's leaders of business, politics, and so- 
ciety. It was at this meeting that he set forth the plans and pur- 
poses of the university. This work resulted in a great variety 
of contributions from many sources. The aggregate from these 
sources was not large in today's terms, but it enabled the man- 



f 1 f 1 ' 

'S",f<'l--f t' 

• * SJI 

i f t t £-f 


^■'" - *B H^ffli Ji II JH 

IP k lk% Ik * 

j/MT . (* <Sl»^. ... 

i l^HH 

# - 

Members of Philomathean Literary Society at Lincoln Memorial Uni- 
versity about 1917. 

agement to meet current expenses and to build slowly. Thus, 
General Howard went for some 12 years seeking to tap every 
available source of funds for the school. During these years, he 
paid for the original plant, built Avery Hall, purchased the old 
Arthur home to be used for the conservatory of music, built 
the Carnegie library, erected six cottages, and left the institu- 
tion clear of debt. 

For many years LMU operated without accreditment by the 
Southern Association of College and Secondary Schools, the 
regional accrediting association, but it did have the approval of 
the Tennesee Department of Education, which sufficed for 
those graduates who taught in Tennessee schools or in those 
states which held reciprocal arrangments with Tennessee. 
Graduates who were appointed to teaching positions in other 
states had to meet the qualifications of those states. However, 
accreditment in 1935 removed that problem. During the 1920s, 
LMU acquired the services of a group of young academic enthu- 
siasts to the enormous benefit of such aspiring writers as Jesse 
Stuart and James Still. The high literary standards of Dean Boyd 
A. Wise were easily confirmed. 

50 Tennessee County History Series 

Iona Holt Goin, county teacher, about 
1907; wife of John L. Goin and mother 
of Dorothy, another long-time county 

In the 1960s and early 1970s, LMU acquired several new 
buildings and renovated older ones; East and West Dormitories, 
a student center, and the Lincoln Museum were completed. An 
aggressive new president, Dr. Frank Welch, undertook to bring 
the university closer to the people it served by widening the 
courses of study. By 1978, the total enrollment had grown to 
1067 which included non-credit and part-time students. In addi- 
tion to liberal arts courses LMU now offers non-traditional 
courses which lead to the baccalaureate degree. 

Educational Achievements and Achievers 

A prime mover in the creation of a tax-supported high 
school, Attorney General P. G. Fulkerson, combined William 
Graham's insight into public needs with a standing in the county 
which enabled him and others to bring into existence the 


Claiborne County High School in 1910. Fulkerson gave the land 
on which it was built, watched over it, and inspired faculty and 
students with an occasional address. An early graduate was Lon 
Francisco who returned to teach there following completion of a 
baccalaureate at Carson-Newman College. For some years, most 
of the teachers came from the University of Tennessee. 

Within a short period of time, the educational harvest from 
the new high school was revealed by the selection of young 
graduates to positions of leadership. An early illustration was the 
selection of Elmer Baldwin and Luther Mayes to help hold 
a Republican primary election at the Lonesome Valley Steel 
Trestle voting precinct on August 1, 1918. Both men were also 
graduates of Lonesome Valley Elementary School. At the 
January of 1919 session of the quarterly court, James W. 
Baldwin, who went to Lonesome Valley School and the county 
high school and college, was elected county school superinten- 
dent. Baldwin later received a doctorate degree and became, 
until his retirement, a professor of education at the University of 

In January of 1929, a graduate of Lincoln Memorial 
University, Ethel Hamilton of Shawanee, was selected by the 
quarterly court to head the county schools. She served for a 
number of years distinguishing herself by attempts to raise the 
standards of academic excellence and by ridding the school 
system of the patronage influence which beset it. 

As the present century progressed, there were others from 
the county schools who rose to eminence and richly contributed 
to the history of this area. Walter E. Baldwin from the Lonesome 
Valley school graduated from the county high school, received a 
baccalaureate degree, served in the armed forces in World War 
I, and became superintendent of schools for a short time. Later, 
he turned to civil service for a notable career, climaxed by service 
in California. Perry E. DeBusk also became the superintendent 
for some years. Later, he went into the insurance business, and 
still later, with the able assistance of his wife, Ethel Mary, he 
established a lucrative antique business in Morristown and in 
Galtinburg. DeBusk recalled the rich, vital, and sometimes col- 
orful instruction in English literature he had received from 

52 Tennessee County History Series 

Helen E. Galbreath, one of the really great teachers at Claiborne 
County High School. Another graduate of the high school, 
Jefferson Davis Earl, was and is held in esteem by all who have 
listened to him speak on any one of the many topics which 
fascinated him. Earl served heroically in World War I and has 
recorded in his memoirs events in the pivotal battle of the 
Hindenburg Line. He now lives in Knoxville with his wife and 
three daughters. 

Conversation among students going to and from high school 
was filled with enthusiasm which flowed from what was learned 
in the classrooms. Love of learning dominated the lives of stu- 
dents, especially a love of English and American classics in lit- 
erature which was acquired from talented Helen Galbreath, 
a graduate of the University of Tennessee. Among the 
many admirers of Galbreath's teaching was Thomas Fugate, 
now of Ewing, Virginia. Fugate's life was influenced deeply 
by Galbreath. He attended the University of Tennessee, then 
Lincoln Memorial University, and became a very successful 
banker at Ewing, a widely known and respected farmer, and 
finally a member of the U.S. Congress from his legislative district 
in southwestern Virginia. Fugate died September 22, 1980. 

Another student who profited enormously from the excel- 
lent staff of high school teachers was Sam Atkin of Lone Moun- 
tain. Atkin's chief field of learning was agriculture, in which he 
took a degree from the University of Tennessee and a doctorate 
from Cornell University. His wife was the former Berniece 
Chumley, daughter of John Chumley of the Barren Creek 
neighborhood. Others in his class were John Greer who became 
a dentist and practiced in Tazewell; Milt Brooks who along with 
his brother Hilt also became a dentist in Middlesboro; Nannie 
Mae Carr of Tazewell; Lois and Charlotte Kivette, the former 
being an ardent student of literature and a writer and Charlotte 
being especially strong in vocal music; Bryan Catherine Percival 
of New Tazewell who took a bachelor of arts degree from LMU 
and a masters from Ohio State University; and Loalles Lynch 
who married John DeBusk, a successful farmer and horseman. 

The curriculum at the Claiborne County, Powell Valley, and 
Forge Ridge high schools was mainly college preparatory. The 



54 Tennessee County History Series 

acknowledged reason for domination by liberal arts subjects was 
that the program was to prepare graduates for entrance to a 
college or university. The thrust for widening the curriculum 
came from a great increase in student enrollment and the long 
neglected laws relative to attendance, which began to be en- 
forced during the 1920s by truant officers. The trend toward 
consolidation of school districts, which depended on free trans- 
portation of students from their homes to the consolidated 
school, also produced wide variations. The argument for con- 
solidation was persuasive and eventually successful to the point 
that in 1978 there were no single school districts. The precon- 
solidation group emphasized that the teacher in a one-room 
school taught everything from first grade through eighth with a 
required "expertness" in all subjects. Literally interpreted, this 
was impossible inasmuch as most teachers at that time had pro- 
gressed, academically speaking, only a little pace beyond their 
students. Moreover, a one-room school was noisy because each 
student was located only paces away from the class being taught 
at that particular hour. In spite of these drawbacks, however, 
many educational miracles were accomplished. Furthermore, as 
consolidation proceeded, the enrollment also increased beyond 
the expected proportion and teachers still found themselves 

All these developments took place at different periods and 
were influenced by the development of national educational 
programs. The writings of John Dewey exercised potent in- 
fluences on the making of curricula at all levels from the first 
grade through college. Previously, the emphasis had been on the 
belief that education consisted primarily in handing down to the 
present generation knowledge of the past, in every discipline 
such as language, mathematics, history, and science so that the 
mind of the citizen-to-be would be able to understand the world 
in which he lived. Then, John Dewey proposed that learning 
consisted in doing those things which most interested the 
learner. The way was thus opened to experimentation of all 
sorts; in a sense, formal education flew off in all directions. 
Vocational education flourished, while liberal education, includ- 
ing the former college preparation programs, suffered and only 
now is recovering. 


Graduates of Claiborne County high schools had available to 
them a considerable number of church-related colleges nearby 
such as Tusculum, Hiwassee, Carson-Newman, and Maryville. 
Lincoln Memorial University, non-denominational, was next 
door and offered higher education at costs competitive with 
tax-supported institutions of higher education. Until recently, it 
also allowed students to work and pay much of the costs of their 
own education. Students seeking further education benefited 
from the large number of graduate programs at the University 
of Tennessee in Knoxville. 

Roads and Bridges 

Being close neighbors of their constituents — the voters of 
Claiborne County, members of the county court were always 
under pressure to improve roads and bridges. Not until the 
middle of the 1890s did the two present railway systems con- 
struct roads through the county. Road building was a must and 
for the first time in the experience of local citizens,. it was possible 
to construct a top which would last a little longer than soil mixed 
with the ever present chert. Macadam was the magic word! For 
the first time in the history of road building in Claiborne County 
there was available a method and materials — limestone rocks — 
which could free people from the ubiquitous mud which met 
them on every step, except during dry weather when clouds of 
dust replaced the mud. Local limestone was crushed into various 
sizes ranging from two-inch stones to one-quarter-inch size, then 
rolled into the crushed stone and small pebbles, and placed on a 
graded and rounded road bed. By bonding together, a fairly 
firm top was formed. The Legislature then encouraged all coun- 
ties to macadamize their roads to the extent of their ability to sell 
road bonds. The ordinary citizen wanted out of the mud, the 
road builders wanted contracts, and many politically-minded 
road promoters saw a way to make easier money than that to 
which they had been accustomed. 

When informed by the state that it could issue $75,000 in 
road bonds, the court took action by appointing John Ausmus, 
P. G. Fulkerson, and F. F. Overton to market them. After an 
initial lack of success, the Fulkerson committee sold bonds in 

J " Tennessee County History Series 

1880 to McDaniel, McCoy, and Company of Chicago at four and 
one-half percent interest, which made the county the only one in 
the state at that time selling bonds at the low rate. At that time, 
the county planned construction of five roads: from Cumber- 
land Gap to Tazewell; from its intersection with that road down 
Powell Valley to the Campbell County line; from Tazewell to the 
Union County line on the Knoxville Road; from Tazewell to 
Grainger County on the Old Kentucky Road; and from that 
intersection up Sycamore Creek Valley to the county line. 

Construction of roads in the county financed by interest 
bearing bonds promptly led to misunderstandings, at least, and 
probably to dishonesty in the use of public funds. Even the initial 
bond issue led to trouble. The court appointed J. L. Buis, R. F. 
Carr, and J. P. Kivett as a committee to supervise the pike roads. 
This committee reported that it did not have the expertise to 
make findings from the reports of the contractors. The court 
then authorized the employment of Knoxville civil engineer 
W. A. Park to aid the committee with a 14-page report which 
covered only part of the construction, even though they were 
directed to cover the entire program. Park prepared a devastat- 
ing analysis of slip-shod construction and contractor reporting 
with many errors. Charges of overpayment and incorrect 
charges were- abundant. In the January of 1910 session, as a 
result of additional investigation, the court ordered payments to 
the contractor. 

J. H. S. Morrison of Cumberland Gap became judge of the 
court in August of 1910 and immediately tried to restore a 
semblance of order and honesty to the county financial records. 
Justices at the October of 1910 session were James Barnard, 
H. F. Bostic, R. F. Carr, B. M. Fletcher, J. P. Goin, John M. Hurst, 
Frank Jennings, J. B. Lambert, J. F. Lynch, J. W. Maddox,J. H. 
Neeney, G. S. Nevils, James H. Riley, G. W. Rosenbalm, and B. F. 
Schultz. At that session, despite Morrison's best efforts, he was 
unable to give a full financial report since the records were 

By the June of 1911 session, Morrison reported that he and 
the county revenue commissioners had made earnest efforts to 
ascertain the outstanding indebtedness of the county. The dif- 


ficulty was compounded because some warrants, when paid, 
were not cancelled on the warrant register. Therefore, it was 
impossible to make an exact determination of the county debt; 
however, he was certain the county owed less than $16,546.79, 
excluding highway warrants, Cumberland Mountain pike war- 
rants, and school warrants. The total indebtedness was summa- 
rized as follows: county proper, $16,546.79; highway, $9,250; 
Cumberland Mountain pike warrants, $17,500; and schools, 
$13,799.80; for a total of $41,346.59. Judge Morrison also 
found that tax assessments were incorrect and that the previous 
year in many parts of the county, the assessor had not been seen. 
Each year the court was "overwhelmed" by reports of "wrong 
assessments" and delinquent polls, and he was certain that 100 
square miles of land had not been taxed at all. 

Due to pressure from the state and the conscientious and 
expert work of such officials as Judges Hughes, Morrison, and 
others, the county instituted an improved method of managing 
its financial resources. Primarily, this improvement was the 
establishment of specific funds in the trustee's office to which 
incoming revenue was paid and from which it could be paid 
by specific authorization from the court, through verification 
by the judge. 

Until Claiborne County finally adopted a budget system for 
holding and disbursing its revenues, there was a continuing 
problem of holding each trustee to a faithful and honest 
accounting for money entrusted to his care. Such a problem 
arose in 1873 when the outgoing trustee withheld the book of 
settlement from the court and his successor until forced to 
relinquish it. In the 1920s much larger sums of money were 
entrusted to the trustee, who was bound by higher bonds than 
was previously required and still further guaranteed by those 
who served as his securities. Even so, one trustee left office 
without making a settlement and four and one-half months later 
the county judge reminded him of his obligations. Finally, in 
October of 1923, the court appointed attorneys William I. Davis 
and J. R. Ketron to bring suit in chancery court which resulted in 
the matter eventually being compromised. 

The first issue of road bonds did not go very far with respect 

58 Tennessee County History Series 

to the construction of lasting roads, but the results were enough 
to excite demands for more roads. The Legislature felt this 
pressure which came from all over the state and in April of 1914, 
on the eve of World War I, it authorized the counties to issue 
more bonds. On April 18, 1913, by a vote of 17-4, the county 
court voted to issue $355,000 worth of bonds at interest rates not 
to exceed six percent. Those voting for the measure were R. F. 
Carr, J. H. Chumley, J. M. Cunningham, A. P. Delozier, John 
Edwards, W. F. Fortner, L. T. Jennings, John Keck, Noah 
Manning, W. E. Mayes, F. F. Overton, C. H. Parkey, H. H. 
Pursifull, S. R. Robertson, J. C. Thomas, W. S. Thomas, and J. S. 
Yoakum; voting against the action were William Bolinger, 
I. R. Dunn, G. W. Greer, and A. M. Moss. The bonds were to 
mature in 30 years beginning July 6, 1914. 

Altogether, 710 bonds were to be offered, each in the 
amount of $500. Money from these bonds was used to build the 
following roads: 14 miles from Lone Mountain via Howard's 
Quarter to the Hancock County line, ($45,000); from the 
Hancock County line near Buchanan's Ford via Cedar Fork to 
Tazewell, 13 miles ($45,000); from Springdale to Tazewell, 
three miles ($10,000); from Union County line via Big Valley 
Road and Barren Creek and Sandlick to Tazewell, .14 miles 
($40,000); from Cumberland Gap to Tazewell, 12 miles 
($50,000); from Patterson's Cross Roads to Campbell County 
line, 18 miles ($55,000); from Lone Mountain to Walker's Ford 
($20,000); from the Powell River bridge to Powell Valley Road 
($50,000); from Harrogate via Shawanee to the Virginia line 
($5,000); from Springdale via Little Sycamore to Hancock 
County line, 12 miles ($30,000). The court met in special session 
on May 3, 1915, to make provision to finance a road from 
Harrogate to the Virginia line. 

Bridges across the two major rivers, Powell and Clinch, were 
matters demanding court action. One court had chosen Greasy 
Hollow across the Powell River for a bridge to connect the 
county seat area with the lower Powell Valley (the old Jacksboro 
Road), but the January of 1914 court reconsidered the matter 
and ordered that a bridge be built across the Powell River at 
Bunch Hollow. By 1914 a bridge had been constructed across 



Bunch Hollow Bridge across the Powell River, prior to its demolition 
for Norris Lake 

the Powell River located on the Old Kentucky Road, out of 
Cumberland Gap. It was financed promptly through a tax levy 
and the issue of interest bearing warrants. 

The region around Clairfield at that time, as now, felt neg- 
lected. Because of an absolute need, the court, in January of 
1915, appropriated $300 to build a bridge across the Clear Fork 
River, It is very significant that after funds had been allocated 
for some ten roads, a special session of the court was called to 
consider the diversion of funds from the Powell Valley Road to 
Clairfield via the best route available. The court appointed a 
committee to investigate and to report, but that was the end of 
the transmontane road for the time being. From that time to the 
present, travel from the county seat to Clairfield must cross the 
mountain into Middlesboro, then follow a circuitous and some- 
times dangerous road across Fonde Mountain into the Clear 
Fork Valley, an extra distance of more than 30 miles. 

It seemed absurd then, as now, that there was no regularly 
used road from the valley into the coal producing portion of 
Claiborne County. This need was heightened by the absence of 
hospitals; a need which was answered in part by cooperation 

60 Tennessee County History Series 

between the Claiborne County Community Action Committee 
(OEO) and private groups led by Roman Catholic nuns and 
Presbyterian-financed doctors and nurses who established a 
valuable health clinic. 

The Community Action Agency used much time and effort 
to convince the state that it should finance an all-weather road 
across the mountain through Carr, Wilson, or other gaps. No 
road yet has been built, and the need is more acute than ever. 
The coal produced in this area, both deep and surface mines, is 
carried to market by rail and trucks. Vast quantities of coal 
produced at the Tackett Creek mine by the Consolidation Coal 
Company is shipped direct by rail to the Georgia Power and 
Light Company. 

On June 30, 1917, the county judge reported that for the 
quarter ending on that date, the county fund stood at $ 1 ,427.58, 
the school fund at $9,056.38; thejudgment fund (the fund from 
which judgments against the county were paid), $40.50; the 
bond interest fund, $15,261.30; the sinking fund, $3,0 15,75; the 
road fund (not inclusive of funds for major expenditures such as 
the pikes), $1,502.98; bridge fund, $75.47; high school fund, 
$761.48; and the pike fund, $60,396.47, of which $50,605 was 
for sales from road bonds. 

Judge Morrison presided at a special session of the court on 
August 27, 1917, to consider what action should be taken to 
encourage the routing of the Dixie Highway over the route of 
the old Kentucky Road from Cumberland Gap to Tazewell, then 
over what is now State Route 33 from Tazewell to New Tazewell, 
Sandlick, and Barren Creek to the Union County line. Quick 
action was desirable because, it was reported, some other route 
might be chosen if there were a delay. The court took affirmative 
action and authorized the judge to issue $25,000 in six percent 
bonds. A special tax levy was imposed for the years 1918-1922. 

Throughout the first decades of this century, the construc- 
tion and maintenance of adequate roads continued to trouble 
the county citizens and their governing body. Demands support- 
ing roads continued during the decade after World War I, and 
in September of 1920 the court, with Judge L. G. Payne pre- 
siding, approved the issue of $42,500 to keep roads in repair. 



Courthouse, which burned in 1932 

The court approved, by a 16-7 vote, the sale of these bonds to 
Caldwell and Company of Nashville. As 1921 began, the court 
consisted of T. H. Ball, James Barnard, J. S. Coleman, W. N. 
Day, W. S. Jaynes, A. B. Keeny, S. E. Mathis, Marion Mayes, 
W. E. Mayes, C. E. Mink, C. H. Minton, G. S. Nevils, W. C. 
Parkey, J. D. Riley, C. G. Rogers, G. S. Sharp, W. S. Thomas, 
and J. S. Yoakum. 

The use of county-owned road machinery was a bone of 
contention by persons who attempted to deny its use by the 
county or other groups on other roads. In April of 192 1 a special 
session of the court was called to consider what should be done to 
make the county's pike road machinery available because such 
machinery was then being detained by "certain citizens living on 
or near Cedar Fork." The court approved a resolution to employ 
counsel "and to take such actions as may be required in order to 
restore such machinery to the County." The county asserted its 
rights to control its own machinery but at the cost of wasted time. 

In July of 1921, the court accepted a plan by the Tennessee 
State Highway Commission that the county change from maca- 
dam specifications to a hand-laid base, or Telford method, con- 


Tennessee County History Series 

Present county courthouse, built in 1933 

sisting of rock laid in varying sizes from the base to the top where 
small rocks were to be used and followed by a bituminous sur- 
face. This method was slow and somewhat more expensive, but 
more resistant to wear. With the county's acceptance, the state 
and federal governments would be responsible for subsequent 
maintenance. This change applied only to the Dixie Highway 
section. The county accepted the proposal, and to this date that 
section of the highway has stood the stress of heavy traffic. 

County Welfare and Human Services 

In the poor house concept of earlier years governmental 
responsibility for care of the needy was placed in the hands of 
the lowest bidder. In some respects, this was better than nothing 
at all, but the net effect was reprehensible. The passage of the 
Social Security Act in 1935 descended to the county level by a 
January of 1937 act of the Legislature. Public assistance in the 
form of money and other support became immediately avail- 
able, and the first problem to solve was the assembling of a 
professional staff. This was not an easy task since few universities 


had followed the example of the University of Chicago, which 
had pioneered in social work under the leadership of Jane 
Addams at Hull House. 

This movement was represented ably by Vanderbilt Uni- 
versity and by Scarrett and Peabody colleges. Even so, there were 
not enough trained students, and Claiborne County initially had 
to recruit high school graduates. Requirements have gradually 
risen so that today new recruits must have 27 hours of behavioral 

Jacob Walker, the present director of the Department of 
Human Services, listed a number of the current functions of the 
department: to work with juvenile courts and law enforcement 
officials to protect children from abuse and neglect; to provide a 
wide range of services for the blind; to accept on court order 
custody of children; to provide foster care; to study and approve 
homes for adoption of children; to determine eligibility for 
medicaid services; to operate a food stamp program; and to 
elevate the losses of the poor and needy by application of proved 

Hazel Davis, the county welfare officer, and Wilma Beaty 
were active in the transition from the almshouse concept to the 
present type of public assistance which met initially with some 
very vocal resistance from community leaders. The strongest 
opposition came from those who objected to assistance to depen- 
dent children in homes where no father was evident. Eventually, 
Davis and her co-workers were successful in convincing most 
critics that the care of such children was governmental responsi- 
bility. The entire staff was dominated with the concern for the 
less fortunate and with the best techniques to ameliorate the 
problems for these people. 

Health, throughout the last half of the nineteenth century 
and during the first three decades of the present century was 
considered generally to be the responsibility of the individual 
and the family. Dietary requirements were not adhered to con- 
sistently but the consequences were not as disastrous as could be 
expected, simply because most people lived close to the soil and 
grew most of their own food. The supply was abundant and most 

64 Tennessee County History Series 

tables were loaded beyond normal capacities. Most people pro- 
duced what they ate and obesity was not the problem it has come 
to be at the present. 

Consequently, contagious diseases, such as smallpox, consti- 
tuted the greatest challenge to the health and even survival of 
people in Claiborne County. Immunization had not yet come to 
be practiced generally with the result that outbreaks came sud- 
denly and with devastating effects. Almost every session of the 
county court in the close of last century and in the beginning of 
this century undertook to stop the plague's spread or to diminish 
its effects. One of the most effective presiding offices of the court 
in the history of the county was Judge J. H. Hughes, who sought 
to maintain fiscal responsibility and yet effectively to meet the 
problems of the hour. The court which met on January 2, 1905, 
was under Judge Hughes and was composed of W. E. Buis, R. F. 
Carr, B. M. Fletcher, H. H. Friar, E.J. Gibson, J. P. Goin, John 
M. Hurst, John Keck, J. B. Lambert, Millard Moyers, P. H. 
Poore, W. B. Rogers, B. F. Schultz, and I.J. Sharp. At this court 
money was appropriated to pay White Lyons Company for 
vaccine points and to repay Yellow Creek Coal Company for 
setting up and maintaining smallpox "camps" where the victims 
were isolated and usually guarded to maintain security. 

When this court assembled in July of 1905, the smallpox 
epidemic had worsened. Other court members present at this 
term were W. H. Jones, J. C. Rogers, and D. C. Swab. Court 
action resulted in more vaccine points being bought; Dr. F. L. 
Lynch being paid for expenses at the Mingo smallpox camp; and 
Nicholson Coal Company being paid for taking care of smallpox 
patients for 14 days. A claim from the Yellow Creek Coal Com- 
pany for expenses involved in smallpox care was referred to the 
judge. In the January of 1906 session, the court allowed A. J. 
Greer $36 for guarding a smallpox camp for a period of 1 8 days; 
Lewis Lambert was awarded $48 for guarding smallpox victims; 
and M. V. Widner was paid $44 for similar duty. 

The county and individual communities took other precau- 
tions to stop the spread of smallpox, such as the establishment of 
"pest houses," and the postponement of revivals, church gather- 
ings, and other public meetings. Gradually, through these and 


other measures smallpox was brought under control. By the 
1920s, Claiborne County was practically free of the disease. 

Childhood diseases, such as measles and whooping cough, 
were also problems. Scarlet fever sometimes struck with deadly 
effect. Typhoid, a deadly menace, usually resulted from con- 
taminated water supplies and outbreaks took place in Tazewell 
and in Harrogate. Concerted action by the health officer and 
those who operated water supplies brought this disease under 

The Claiborne County Hospital 

Until 1959, Claiborne County lacked a properly licensed 
hospital although in previous years a small facility operated 
adequately within its limitations at New Tazewell. In recognition 
of the great need for such a health facility, the county court in a 
July of 1952 special session passed a resolution which in effect 
was an application for the use of federal funds to construct a 
hospital. The court applied for $650,000 from the Hill-Burton 
Act and pledged itself to pay 24 percent of the total amount 
required, with the federal and state governments paying the 
remainder. The resolution was approved by the entire court. 

By 1958, the county was advised that funds soon would be 
available and that a hospital board should be appointed. The 
board was to be composed of the county judge as an ex-officio 
member, a member from the county court, a banker, a church 
representative, a farmer, a businessman, and a member from 
another occupation or profession. Its members were charged 
with the administration and management of the hospital in 
accordance with good management policies, with establishment 
of rates, and with the hiring and firing of employees. 

James D. Estep, Jr., was county judge when the hospital was 
built; the building committee was composed of Will A. Fugate, 
chairman; G. B. Hodges, Hugh McNeeley, Dr. George L. Rea, 
and William D. Hurst, secretary. Lindsay, Maples, and E. R. 
Clayton were the architects who designed the building which was 
constructed by Anderson and Watson. 

The first wing which contained 40 beds was constructed in 
1959; two other wings and a nursing home, immediately adja- 

66 Tennessee Comity History Series 

cent to the hospital, were added later. In compliance with the 
requirements of federal legislation it was possible, as need arose, 
to add to the hospital facilities on a self-liquidation basis. Such 
needs did arise and two wings were added including an intensive 
care unit, an obstetrical and a surgical wing. By the end of 1974 
there were 40 beds in the first wing, built in 1959; 21 in the East 
Wing, built in 1965; 25 in the West Wing, built in 1974; and 50 
beds in the nursing home, built in 1968. By 1978, the licensed 
beds in the Claiborne County Hospital had increased to 86. 
There now are 110 hospital beds and the nursing home im- 
mediately adjacent to the hospital has 50 beds. 

By 1978, the hospital had come to play a major role in the 
economic life of the county and the entire Tri-State area. By that 
year it held total assets of $2,674,804.58, of which $1,541,270.46 
were in the plant. Of the latter its land had a net worth of 
$36,679.25, its buildings a net worth of $1,342,958.56 and its 
equipment $ 149,979.56. The hospital had $8 1 ,22 1 .3 1 in cash on 
deposit, and $40,000 in savings. Accounts receivable for the 
hospital were $928,537.38 and from the nursing home 
$139,025.95. The total operating expenses of $2,309,259.76 of 
the hospital presented a graphic picture of its place in the coun- 
ty's economy. The expense of the nursing home, came to 
$171,582.68 which created a loss of $129,406.75. Nursing serv- 
ice for the hospital came to $557,353.99; housekeeping costs 
came to $11 1,051.58. 

From 1959 to June 30, 1978, the hospital management left 
the general fund in a stable and healthy condition, standing at 
$951,520.89 on that date. The ambulance service was improved 
vastly through the training of one of its operators as a paramedic 
at the University of Tennessee. The ambulance unit has now 
added a coronary reporting system to insure adequate care of 
heart attack victims en route to the hospital. 

Claiborne County in Two World Wars 

In harmony with the long established volunteer spirit in 
Tennessee, young men from the county hastened to join the 
military services during the two world wars of this century. Many 


of them did not wait for "Greetings" from the draft board. 
However, when in 1917 the United States entered World War I 
on the side of England and France, Selective Service was chosen 
as the chief method of building a defense, and the Draft Board 
in Claiborne County had strong public support. Members of the 
board were M. B. Carr, chairman; James J. Kivett, secretary; 
William H. Hodges, chief clerk; and Robert T. Ketron, member. 
A legal advisory board was composed of J. H. S. Morrison, 
George W. Montgomery, and J. E. Rogers. From June 5, 1917, to 
September 12, 1918 the Claiborne County board selected 4649 
men to go to induction camps, mostly to Camp Oglethorpe in 
Georgia. Of these, 253 were disqualified, 84 were given limited 
service, and 303 were classified for general service. During the 
course of the war 41 were wounded and the following 22 men 
were killed: 

Leonard T. Brewer William Hobart Leach 

Robert B. Carpenter Ballard Columbus Linch 

Fred Cawood Estell William Look 

Oscar P. Cupp Harvey Miracle 

Lafayette Day Hagan Moore 

Samuel H. Duncan William F. Moore 

Major G. Ellison William C. Parkey 

James I. Francisco, Jr. Lewis F. Pearson 

Carben A. Keck Onie Sanford 

Arthur V. Kilbert George W. Singleton 

William Lasley Henry V. Soard 

When the attack on Pearl Harbor shocked the nation in 194 1 , 
public opinion united strongly in support of the United States' 
entry into World War II. Again, as in the previous war, there was 
no opposition to the Draft Board which was headed by John L. 
Goin with Hugh Trent Ramsey as secretary. Draftees and volun- 
teers together met the needs of an enormous and rapidly grow- 
ing military attempting to recover in the Pacific and to land on 
the European continent against a strongly entrenched foe. The 
world-wide conflict ended in victory for the United States and 
her allies, but the casualty list for Claiborne County was much 
greater than in World War I. Nine Navy men from the county 

58 Tennessee County History Series 

lost their lives: William Brooks, Charles L. Echols, Roscoe L. 
Former, Robert N. Johnson, James Thomas Lynch, Lillon 
Buford Lynch, Clifford Osborne, Charles H. Patterson, and 
Kermit C. Taylor. In the Army, which included the Army Air 
Forces (until 1947), 59 men were lost. 

William J. Aye 
Lee Berry 

Sherman H. Braden 
Lowell E. Brockman 
Wesley L. Brooks 
Harry L. Buis 
Cleo Cain 
Rov L. Campbell 
Bill J. Clark 
Millard O. Cline 
Ross T. Collingsworth 
George J. Davis 
Harold D. Douglass 
Edward G. Douglass 
Neil England 
Nathan E. Fisher 
Austin S. Francisco 
Lonnie E. Grady 
Ernest Griffen 
James E. Hamblin 
Roy E. Hatfield 
Henry A. Hopper 
Samuel L. Houston 
Neil E. Ingle 
Ralph C. Jordon 
Claude B. Keyes 
Kels Laws 
Conley Leach 
Austin M. Long 
John Manning 

Tom Messer 
John H. Miracle 
Owen Money, Jr. 
Maynard L. Nunn 
Edwin E. Overton 
Cordell Partin 
Evert W. Pierce 
Loyd J. Powers 
Aaron Rains 
Carl R. Reece 
Kenneth B. Robinson 
Vernon W. Robinson 
James M. Rogers 
Ernest E. Seal 
Elvert E. Shiflet 
Edward R. Shugart, Jr. 
Roy W. Sivils 
Riley L. Sutton 
Clyde S. Taylor 
Cecil C. Terry 
Louis W. Treece 
Harold C. Turpin 
William Weaver 
Daniel Weaver 
Harold W. Welch 
Pat M. Williams 
A. F. Wolfenbarger 
Woodrow W. Wright 
John D. Yeary 

Among the survivors of both wars many served heriocally 
and made outstanding records. The following examples are 


representative of these Claiborne County men. Jefferson Davis 
Earl, named after his father, was an early graduate of Claiborne 
County High School and Lincoln Memorial University. He 
volunteered for the duration of the war in the 59th Tennessee 
Brigade of the 30th Division which was the spearhead, with 
British aid, that broke the Hindenburg Line. Earl's intensive 
study of many histories of the Civil War made him reflect 
throughout his participation in the bloody engagement how the 
daily events illustrated the classical principles of warfare. Earl 
returned to the county to rear his family and serve in the 
teaching profession and in the civil service until retirement. 

Clarence T. Holt, entering service on September 20, 1917, 
was trained initially in the artillery but was switched to the 
ambulance service under the commander of the 30th Division 
and served with British units in Belgium and France. Holt was an 
early victim of gas attacks, but was not hospitalized, continuing 
on active duty until the Armistice. He returned home in the 
spring of 1919 to become a farmer and merchant. He and his 
wife, Pearlie, had two sons, Leon and Lester. 

John Alston, son of Harvey Alston, served his country well in 
France and Cermany from April of 1918 until his return in the 
spring of 1920. Unfortunately, Alston died of a fever in Decem- 
ber of that year. 

John Minton did not make the headlines as did the famous 
rifleman, Alvin York, but as an artilleryman he fought valiantly 
in the Chateau-Thierry drive and the battle of the Hindenburg 
Line. He was helping to man guns in Battery D when a German 
shell landed on his group, killing his lieutenant and killing or 
wounding 20 others. Alston's left foot and right leg were severe- 
ly injured. Immediate aid was delayed by the rage of battle, and 
he spent almost two days in heavy rain in a shell hole before 
rescue was possible. He returned in January of 1919 to settle 
down on a hill farm and marry Katherine Poor, daughter of 
Ewin Poore. 

James Carl Breeding served in the Navy before and after 
World War II. After Pearl Harbor, he participated in a series 
of engagements in the western Pacific and at Dutch Harbor, 
Alaska. After the war he participated in the test of atomic 

70 Tennessee County History Series 

power conducted by the United States at Enewetok. Breeding 
and his loyal Navy wife, Alma, had a son, Stanley, who also 
served in the Navy until his retirement. 

Paul H. Cline, descended from a long line of Claiborne 
County Clines, entered the Infantry from Knoxville in Decem- 
ber of 1941 and served until November 14, 1945. He was trained 
in the use of small arms and participated in the landing on the 
Normandy beaches. He was involved in a number of battles in 
the First Army under General Bradley and in the Third Army 
under General Patton, and he suffered a broken ankle in com- 
bat. Following the war he returned to Claiborne County to live. 

The Twin Cities 


In December of 1843 elections had been held within the 
corporate limits to select a mayor and aldermen to govern 
Tazewell in accordance with Tennessee law. The members-elect 
assembled in the county courthouse the following year, took the 
oath of office, and launched the new government. The historic 
first government of the city of Tazewell consisted of James P. 
Evans, mayor; William Neil (active then and later in the Baptist 
church), Wesley Chittum, William Kirkpatrick, Jesse B. Lane, 
A. A. McAmis, and Joseph White as aldermen. The council 
named Lane as constable and gave him some necessary duties to 
perform in transforming a frontier community into an accept- 
able corporation. 

As the Civil War approached, the docket record of the city 
seemed to become more and more sparse which indicated inde- 
cision and uncertainty with regard to the future. Then after the 
very brief record of March 19, 1860, there is a gap in the 
available docket with many pages cut out; it then resumes on 
August 3, 1868. The mayor at the time the gap appeared in the 
records was William Houston and council members were A. C. 
Hansard, Thomas P. Graham, James B. Neil, and C. Y. Rice. 
During the Civil War, military operations destroyed much of the 
city and caused widespread disruption of church services. The 


records of the Baptist church noted that the church was "visited" 
so often that Sunday services were abandoned for much of the 
war period. The docket record for Tazewell begins in August of 
1868 with P. G. Fulkerson as mayor and Newton Cowan, N. C. 
Hodges, J. W. Parine, N.J. Treece, and N. U. White as alder- 
men. Other city records from the postwar years to 1950 are 
not available. 

The city of Tazewell regained its corporate existence in 1954 
and functioned well for several years with a prominent educator, 
Marshall Dyer, as mayor. Aldermen were elected and served 
under the restrictions then existing with regard to sources of 
revenue. Use of real property as a source of operating funds was 
restricted for all practical purposes to the county and state gov- 
ernments, but the city did receive a small amount of revenue 
from the state on its levy of the sales tax and especially from its 
gasoline tax. Dyer's services as mayor could be characterized as 
strict adherence to what he considered to be the law of the land. 
During the next few years, E. J. Hardin, III, served at various 
times as mayor; he and his alderman were signally successful in 
making use of all available state and federal aids to local govern- 
ment. Without such aids, Tazewell could not have re-ordered its 
downtown areas through the Urban Renewal project by razing 
buildings, residence or public, which could not be made to 
comply with the requirements of health and aesthetics. 

Urban Renewal specifically meant the removal of some 
dwellings which could not be improved economically, the paving 
of specified streets in the renewed area, compliance with health 
regulations with respect to sewage and water, development of a 
city park, the construction of low-rent housing to take care of the 
absolute needs of those whose homes were deleted, and the 
construction of a senior citizens building with the aid of New 
Tazewell, federal funds, and civic organizations. The senior 
citizens building has become one of the most thoroughly used 
and appreciated of the new facilities in the burgeoning 
Tazewells and indeed in the county. The proportion of the 
elderly to the youth in Claiborne County is greater than in any- 
similar area. Senior citizen activities, stimulated by a capable 
staff under the enthusiastic leadership of Ray Epperson and 


Tennessee County History Series 

Paul E. Divine, lawyer and man-about-town, Tazewell 

with strong support from the East Tennessee Council on Aging, 
have enlisted enthusiastic support from both the elderly and the 
entire county. 

Throughout most of the life of the revived Tazewell city 
government its activities have centered around the able record- 
er, Douglas Overton, until he resigned in 1979 to be succeeded 
by Douglas Harbin. Overton not only kept the books on what 
had happened in meetings of the council, but, by means of 
several years of tenure under different mayors, he furnished a 
continuity which worked to the great advantage of Tazewell 
which found itself in competition with many other towns strug- 
gling to improve. Tazewell apparently was indeed fortunate 
during the administrations of Marshall Dyer, Eph Gose, Joe 
Frank Essary, Delbert Brooks, and E. J. Hardin, III. 

New Tazewell 

New Tazewell dates from the completion in 1890 of what is 
now the Southern Railroad running from Knoxville to Middles- 
boro, Kentucky. Its route meanders considerably in the New 


Tazewell area, being chosen in the final analysis so as to avoid 
steep grades and special engineering obstacles. The railroad was 
built primarily to tap what was expected to be a great manufac- 
turing area with coal and iron ore as the principal ingredients 
and with English capital as the stimulus. At its nearest point the 
railroad was about two miles from the county seat of Tazewell. 

The projected railroad from Knoxville to Middlesboro was 
built at the instigation and with the financial assistance of the 
American Association, Limited, an English firm, aided at every 
turn by Alexander A. Arthur who foresaw riches to flow from 
coal and iron lying in close proximity to each other in the 
Cumberland Gap-Middlesboro area. The railroad was later 
known as the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap, and Louisville Rail- 
road Company and still later as the Southern Railway System 
through a reorganization and purchase by Southern. The rail- 
road's 63.56 miles in length from Knoxville to Cumberland Gap 
was completed in 1890; later it was stalled for a time in reaching 
Middlesboro by construction problems in tunnelling through 
Cumberland Mountain. In the same year, a spur track, 3.65 
miles long, was built from Cumberland Gap to a point known as 
Ore Bed Junction north of the Watts Ore mine. The ore from 
this mine was freighted until 1907 to Middlesboro, where it was 
used to manufacture pig iron. 

During the boom days which followed, Alexander Arthur 
built a home for his family in Harrogate, so named because of his 
dreams of Harrogate, England, which attracted wealthy people 
for rest, recreation, amusement, and for health-giving results, 
whether real or fancied, from the use of its mineral waters. In 
Harrogate, Tennessee, efforts were made to create a resort. The 
700-room Four Seasons Hotel was built, which was reached by 
means of a 3.43 spur line from Arthur. The hotel had a casino 
and a sanitarium, the latter eventually being used by Lincoln 
Memorial University. English money was severely curtailed to 
the area after the financial failure of the Baring Brothers in 
London in 1892. 

With the completion of the railroad, Claiborne County com- 
merce was freed from complete dependence on wagons, and 
loading and off-loading points were established at what became 


Tennessee County History Series 

The British built this famous house in Harrogate, Tennessee, about 
the time of the railroad expansion to Middlesboro, Kentucky. It is now 
owned by Judge and Mrs. William I. Davis. 

New Tazewell, earlier called Cowan City for a prominent mer- 
chant, S. A. Cowan, who with I. N. Cowan had sold land to the 
railroad company. The Cowan City area had been chartered as a 
municipal corporation on March 24, 1890. In 1954 this rapidly 
growing mercantile community was incorporated as New 

New Tazewell's city government consisted of mayor and 
aldermen. Charles Torbett was mayor from the time of the city's 
incorporation until December of 1960 when he was followed by 
Bill DeBusk who served until December of 1 96 1 . Harry D. Rowe 
then became mayor and served until December of 1967; he was 
followed by Edward Duncan. Following Duncan, Bill DeBusk 
again served until August of 1970 when he became clerk of 
circuit court. Charles Chadwell became mayor in October of 
1979 and is serving presently in this capacity. Like the Tazewell 
city government, that of New Tazewell fortunately has had the 


services of an earnest and able city recorder, Herschel Beeler, 
who has helped the city to take advantage of federal, state, and 
other sources of financial and professional assistance. 

Like its neighbor the county seat, New Tazewell relied 
strongly on the building code approved by the state and on a 
comprehensive plan drawn under the aegis of the East Tennes- 
see Office of the State Planning Commission, published as HUD 
project No. Tenn P— 64. Transportation for New Tazewell is 
furnished by the Southern Railway and by State Route 33 from 
Knoxville to its juncture with Highway 25 East in Tazewell which 
follows Highway 25 East as far as Big Sycamore where it turns 
upstream by a two-lane road to Sneedville and thence to 
Virginia. Electricity is furnished by the Powell Valley Electric 
Co-op derived from TVA. Water is supplied by the Claiborne 
County Utility District and is derived from the Ball Creek 
Spring, a source that will meet the needs of a population of 

Some residential areas are served by two-inch pipes which 
are inadequate in the event of such large scale use of water as for 
fire. Adequate pressure also is lacked in a few spots which would 
require the installation of additional pumpers. On December 2 1 , 
1940, New Tazewell experienced its second major fire in five 
years. This fire began in the S. H. Flynn garage next to the New 
Tazewell Methodist Church which became the first great loss in 
the outbreak; then it continued consuming about one-half the 
entire business district. Dorene Hufstedler, night operator of 
the New Tazewell telephone company, became the heroine of 
this tragedy by remaining on duty and sounding the alarm until 
intense heat forced her to leave. After the Claiborne County 
Utility District constructed water and sewage lines, New 
Tazewell began to flourish beyond the expectations of its most 
sanguine citizens. 

The only actual deficiency experienced in utilities developed 
with respect to electricity in 1978 when an unprecedented snow 
storm disrupted electric power lines throughout the county 
which lasted in some areas almost 72 hours. Many persons came 
close to panic but the maintenance personnel of the Powell 


Tennessee County History Series 

Cumberland Gap, with L & N and Southern tracks leading the tunnel 
under the mountain. Photograph courtesy of the National Park Service. 

Valley Electric Company worked day and night until power was 
restored. The Power Company then began re-working its lines 
to prevent or reduce the chances of a reoccurrence. 

County Growth and Development 

By 1960, economic life in Claiborne County had sunk to its 
lowest point after World War II. Young peole continued their 
trek to cities, both north and south, and many continued to obey 
Horace Greeley's injunction to go west. The county's population 
had declined to slightly over 19,000, and the end of the tragic 
decline did not appear to be in sight. Agriculture was the pri- 
mary vocation of more than 80 percent of the population. Ex- 
cept for tobacco, there was little or no cash inducement to grow 
most traditional crops, and tobacco warehouses determined the 
outcome of the chief cash crop. Dairy products, mostly class C 
milk, were next in importance. Requirements for marketing 
grade A milk imposed a barrier which most farmers could not 


overcome. However, by 1978 some dairymen, especially in 
Powell Valley, were markedly successful. 

Other than such industries as warehousing, tied closely to the 
marketing of farm products, only two small industries offered 
jobs to the young. Fortunately, during the 1950s, the county 
court approved legislation which led to the creation of a utility 
district in the Tazewell area. Prior to the 1960-1978 period, 
home construction was limited to the absolutely necessary re- 
placement of structures, most of which had long outlived their 
usefulness. Construction of public facilities had been limited to 
the three high schools, Claiborne County High School in 
Tazewell, Powell Valley High School near Speedwell, and the 
Forge Ridge High School in the extreme northeast section of the 
county. It appeared to the county's leading citizens that some- 
thing drastic must be done to stay the decline. 

The drive to resuscitate economic life in Claiborne County 
was led by an earnest group of citizens acting on their own 
individual senses of urgency, the Claiborne County Chamber of 
Commerce, the county court at critical moments, and the 
Claiborne County Community Action Committee. This commit- 
tee grew out of the National War on Poverty program as exem- 
plified in the Office of Economic Opportunity. This effort of 
OEO on the local level, however, was preceded by the individual 
efforts of leading citizens, the Chamber of Commerce, and by 
actions of the utility district in the Tazewell-New Tazewell area. 

From its start in 1964, the Community Action Agency in 
Claiborne County was a single-county organization which stood 
against pressure from OEO echelons at the at the state, regional, 
and federal levels to join in a multi-county organization. This 
question was placed before the governing board of the agency at 
numerous sessions, but the board expressed a strong preference 
for "going it alone." 

Other counties to the south with stronger economies and 
higher per-capita incomes wanted to collaborate with Claiborne 
for the simple reason that the allocation of federal funds, to a 
large extent, was based on need as illustrated by what was at that 
time designated as poverty level income for families of four. In 
1966, 36.7 percent of Claiborne County's families had annual 

78 Tennessee County History Series 

incomes of less than $10,000 and 78.64 percent had incomes of 
less than $3000. 

The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 had the primary 
objective of ridding the nation of poverty. This extremely ambi- 
tious piece of legislation was based on certain assumptions which 
undergirded the program from the top level in Washington to 
the grass roots level in each operating unit. The Community 
Action Committee was composed of certain ex-officio members 
including the superintendent of schools, county judge, county 
attorney, mayors, appointed representatives of the county court, 
board of education, practicing physicians, business leaders, and 
those selected by vote from each district. Edgar A. Holt served as 
the executive director from 1965 to 1968 for this extremely 
difficult but worthwhile program. To be sure, poverty was not 
abolished, though the poverty level during the 1960s rose per- 
ceptibly, due perhaps to the efforts of CAA improvements in the 
national economic picture. It is evident, however, that much of 
the improvement in the county stemmed from the growth of 
local industry. Abundant supplies of water and sewage facilities 
made possible a phenomenal economic growth. 

The Headstart Program in Claiborne County perhaps 
attracted the greatest local and national attention. It was de- 
signed to give underprivileged children, who constituted the 
core of school enrollments, a chance to catch up with their peers 
whose experiences came closer to statewide levels of education. 
This "catching up" process would occur earlier than the normal 
enrollment age in schools and thus give to these youngsters a 
head start for what would be expected of them in the first grade. 

Headstart education began in the county in 1965 as an 
abbreviated summer program. Emma Jo Hurst, who had been 
serving the public schools in special education, became coordi- 
nator for the program. She was an almost instant success because 
she attracted to the program those youngsters who most needed 
that kind of help and because she welded into daily activities the 
natural enthusiasm of the children and the cooperation of their 
parents. Hurst, the scores of capable teachers, and aides sup- 
plied the magic that within one year brought state and national 
attention to the program. 


The effectiveness of the Headstart program was proved by 
the fact that Headstart-educated children performed one grade 
point higher than their peers. The New Tazewell Center was 
operated by Catherine Carr for a brief period, then by Dewey 
Marsee, followed by Faye Harkleroad and Edna Loope. The 
Arthur Center was operated by Elaine Ely and the Clairheld 
Center by Orville Petree, Jean Luce, Tommy Jordan, and Marie 
Cirillo. Marie Cirillo performed herculean tasks for her adopted 
community both then and now. 

By 1967, the Washington office of OEO, yielding to pressure 
from more conservative elements, required that even 100 per- 
cent federally aided counties like Claiborne must increase their 
contribution to 20 percent of the cost of operation after July 1, 
1967. OEO grants to the county included funds for the creation 
and operation of neighborhood centers which were soon estab- 
lished in New Tazewell, Arthur, and Clairfield. In addition, 
satellite aid stations, manned by one or two aids were created to 
work in conjunction with their nearest neighborhood center. 
The purposes of the centers and aid stations were to improve the 
lot of those whose incomes fell below the poverty designation, 
which of course changed as the effects of the program and 
improvements in the national economy took effect. 

Although the neighborhood facility in Tazewell did not be- 
come a reality during this period, it did result eventually in the 
construction of the civic center located on the site of the former 
Soldier's Memorial School. Planners estimated that the total cost 
of the project would come to $652,438 and the development 
costs to $567,100. 

In 1972 the two Tazewells responded to the need and on 
December 1, 1972, the council awarded the contract to W. B. 
Browning Construction Company for $283,200. The two cities 
applied their revenue sharing payments to this project that 
became a reality, and it now performs the widespread function 
of a civic center. It is located close to such educational facilities as 
the Vocational School, the Little Red School for the Retarded, 
and not far away from the Claiborne County High School 
complex. A little farther up the hill is the new Soldiers 
Memorial School. 

80 Tennessee County History Series 

Staffing of the county's OEO program was accomplished by 
adherence to federal guidelines which empowered certain 
appointees to be classified as professionals who could be 
appointed from any income level while most of the remainder 
were to be drawn from the targeted population. Training pro- 
grams were put into operation to enable all those below the 
professional level to improve their status. Natural differences 
developed in the employment of those below the professional 
level. These differences grew out of tradition based on kinship 
or the performance of past or expected future favors. Executive 
Director Edgar A. Holt, Assistant Director Clyde Huffaker, 
Secretary Lizzie Mae Morley, a former county trustee, and the 
majority on the governing board insisted on adherence to the 
federal guidelines. 

In order to improve the income level of the county's farm 
population which constituted more than 90 percent of the total, 
the CAA staff worked closely with the marketing elements of the 
University of Tennessee's College of Agriculture to establish a 
cooperative farmers' market. The plan never reached fruition in 
this time period due to three major obstacles: the producers had 
to be educated to produce only high quality vegetables, especial- 
ly in the initial stages; a knowledgeable and well-known expert 
director would have to market and be furnished electronic com- 
munication to provide immediate shipments; a well-equipped 
warehouse to store the produce and appropriate rail or truck 
facilities were necessary. It was agreed by the market's planners 
that Arthur would be the most accessible community to all parts 
of the county and to its farm neighbors. Although the plan was 
not put into operation at that time, it was feasible, and it would 
have contributed much to the economic strength of the entire 
tri-state area. Eventually, under the leadership of Luther 
Whitaker, county agricultural agent, a farmers' market became a 
reality. This market was aided by a grant from HUD and strong 
professional assistence from the University of Tennessee. 

Through the years the Claiborne County CAA obtained 
sizeable grants from the federal government to raise the income 
level of those on the lowest rung of the economic ladder. The 
grant and its accompanying program for the year starting Janu- 


ary 31, 1969, illustrated the effort at perhaps its peak year. It 
called for an expenditure of $402,689, of which $47,442 was 
donated on the local level predominately, from "in-kind" avail- 
able facilities. The federal share, or 80 percent, equalled 
$355,237— $23,323 for conduct and administration; $63,259 
for multi-service centers; $38,778 for summer Headstart; and 
$269,036 for year-long Headstart. 

Area Redevelopment Act and Other Assistance: Economic Renaissance 

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, those who watched closely 
the increasing indications of economic decay, however, noted 
also that those who had gone north or even to southern cities 
longed to return to their beloved hills. Claiborne County does 
have an aesthetic lure to all who have gone away and to many 
who pass through. When John F. Kennedy visited the Appa- 
lachian area during the campaign of 1960, he vowed to help the 
area if he were elected president. The result was the passage of 
a law entitled the Area Redevelopment Act which made funds 
available to redevelopment districts. The Claiborne-Campbell 
County area was among the first to qualify for these funds. 

The offer of help came none too soon for at that time only 
two small industrial firms existed in the Tazewell area — Donlin 
Sportswear and Brooks Furniture Manufacturing Company. 
Lack of adequate sewage disposal almost ended the sportswear 
company and lack of an adequate water supply did not permit 
the furniture factory to install a sprinkler system, thus forcing 
them to pay exorbitantly high insurance rates. Brooks would 
have to close unless a new water system was installed. 

The Brooks factory was established by a local man, Dr. Hilt 
Brooks, a graduate of Claiborne County High School, who was 
determined to remain in the area if at all possible. Due to lack 
of adequate water, he could not expand at that time. Donlin 
Sportswear of Union City, New Jersey, was owned by Meyer and 
Seymour Arnstein who agreed to operate in the Tazewell area if 
a factory was provided for them. Leading citizens, led by Lee 
Dan Stone, J. M. Campbell, and others raised $65,000 to build 
the factory. 

Director of State Planning and State Deputy Coordinator for 

82 Tennessee County History Series 

Area Redevelopment Linzy Albert contacted local leaders in 
Claiborne and Campbell counties, and in August of 1961 
Tennessee's first OEDP (Overall Economic Development Pro- 
gram) was published. This OEDP, required by the federal gov- 
ernment, contained an analysis of social and economic condi- 
tions in the two counties, a statement of future goals, and specific 
suggestions and plans by which local leaders hoped to achieve 
those goals. 

A requirement of the OEDP was the establishment of local 
planning commissions which were set into motion in the two 
Tazewells with the aid of the State Planning Commission in 
1963. The local planning agency published a land use plan 
which evaluated the area, pointed their resources and problems, 
and suggested planned solutions which might encourage an 
orderly economic development. A second purpose of ARA was 
to lend or give economic assistance to enable depressed areas to 
achieve lasting improvement through diversified local activities. 

The Tazewells fulfilled dramatically the purposes of ARA. 
An engineering study of existing facilities such as warehouses 
was made together with an estimate of present and future needs 
for water and sewage. This study was sent to Washington and 
was supported by delegations from the Tazewell area who made 
eloquent and persistent pleas for assistance. Federal officials 
finally concluded that loans and grants to finance water and 
sewage developments could be given. In July of 1962 the 
Tazewells received a $250,000 grant for their water systems, and 
in October a $465,000 grant and a $243,000 loan for a new 
sewage facility. Later an additional $ 14,000 loan was received on 
the sewage facility bringing the total expenditures for water and 
sewage to $972,000 of which $257,500 was a recoverable loan. 

The results of this carefully placed investment in the county 
economy were mind boggling. Between July of 1962 and 
November of 1965 new construction activities amounted to 
approximately $9,500,000. By 1966 new jobs created by this 
renaissance in the county economy rose to more than 700. The 
two Tazewells grew from 2032 in 1962 to 2757 in November 
of 1965. 

In 1 967 a movement to create an airport in the Tazewell area 
























a £ 













































t O 

































84 Tennessee County History Series 

came to a climax. The local chamber of commerce worked close- 
ly, through its Executive Secretary William R. Stanifer, the 
mayor of New Tazewell, the Claiborne County Quarterly Court, 
and the state office of the Federal Aviation Commission to obtain 
permission and financial aid from both the FAA and local 
sources. During those years local leaders stressed the import- 
ance of an airport to attract new industries to the county. On 
December 1, 1967, the council approved a plan for financing as 
follows: 50 percent from the FAA, 25 percent from the state, 
and 25 percent from Tazewell and New Tazewell. 

Until the slowdown in the national economy during 1979, 
county population continued to increase. Growth in population 
and economic activity also developed in the upper Powell Valley 
sparked perhaps by the estalishment of a utility district for that 
area sponsored by the Farmers Home Administration. Water 
was drawn from Powell River and stored in tanks on higher 
elevations so that pressure was guaranteed. Harrogate, Arthur, 
and Shawanee were no longer dependent on water from Cudjo's 
Cave; the need for water had increased beyond the normal 
capacity of this source. Homes were constructed at a greatly 
accelerated pace to meet the needs of incoming population from 
the north and the south, to furnish homes for those who worked 
in Middlesboro and for restored operations in the coal mines of 
Kentucky and Tennessee. Plainly there was a near boom period 
in the upper portion of Powell Valley. 

Prior to the arrival of assistance from the federal and state 
governments, strenous efforts were made by Claiborne County 
leaders to awaken the county's life. For several years the Gose 
family — C. W., Kelly, and Eph — had operated a small cabinet 
manufacturing company on State Route 33, below New 
Tazewell. They were high quality cabinet makers and, in a small 
way, were highly successful. Taking note of the high skills of 
their carpenters and noting, too, the success of the manufactur- 
ers of mobile homes and recreation type vehicles, the family 
decided to venture on their own. They first bought enough 
supplies to build a limited number of mobile homes, built them, 
and then sold them successfully. With the capital derived from 
their own factory, they then proceeded to step up production. 


Again, they succeeded but with a familiar handicap, the high 
cost of insurance due to the supply of water at that time not 
permitting a sprinkler system. Action by Congress established 
the Area Redevelopment Administration, and the rest is history, 
except that the family's success led to an offer by the Midas 
Corporation to buy Norris Homes and leave the Gose family in 
operation for a three-year period while Midas prepared to take 
over the actual operation. Local people operating from scratch 
had proved that they could compete with the outside world. 

Another local family who also succeeded was that of Charlie 
England and his talented sons. They began manufacturing furn- 
iture with three carpenters who were supplemented by their 
own family. Within three years they had grown to 150 employees 
with a new plant located on Highway 25 East on Tazewell's north 
side. They also had the problem with high insurance rates until 
the Claiborne County Utility District brought water in abun- 
dance, together with a sewage system which made possible a far 
reaching expansion in their output and in their market. Initially, 
England Manufacturing Company supplied its own store, pri- 
marily with upholstered furniture and also furniture for the 
mobile homes built at the Norris Homes plant below New 
Tazewell. By 1978 they had a work force of more than 300 and 
distributed their products throughout the midwest. 

The Tazewell Textile Industry has been justly described as 
the "Million Dollar Prize," costing initially $1,226,000 and em- 
ploying 225 persons with expansion planned to 600 when train- 
ing can be completed in the operation of the machinery. Reid 
Murphy, president of Dri-Set, Incorporated, and owner of a 
plant in Chattanooga in 1963, explained why the company had 
gone to Tazewell. First, there was an adequate supply of highly 
trainable work force; second, there was an excellent water sup- 
ply which would supply at least 100,000 gallons of water daily for 
a factory; third, there was a good sewage system for the disposal 
of industrial waste; and, last, and most important of all, there 
was an aggressive leadership in the area. 

New Tazewell attracted Claiborne Textile, Incorporated, 
headed by Clyde Nevils, Luther Shipley, and Harold Higdon. 
This plant started operations in April of 1976 at the facilities of 

86 Tennessee County History Series 

the former H. T. Hackney Wholesale Grocery. After one year of 
successful operations there, Claiborne Textiles leased an adjoin- 
ing tobacco warehouse and by late 1979 further expansion and 
the construction of a storage warehouse was being considered. 
On the initial day of operation the new industry had one experi- 
enced machine operator; the next day, two; and within a short 
time 50 other experienced machine operators were added to the 
work force. By October of 1979 the total work force came to 225, 
including a few positions filled by male employees. The effect of 
this plant on the New Tazewell economy was immediate and 
continuing. The weekly payroll is from $20,000 to $30,000; the 
annual payroll is $6,000,000. Clearly, this mill is prospering and 
is so managed that it can expand at any time. A key point in the 
operation of this mill is the contract between Claiborne Textiles 
and Oneita Knitting Mills of Andrews, South Carolina. Oneita 
sells basic materials to Claiborne and then sends trucks to pick up 
finished products. Mill operations have the protection of a water 
sprinkler system which lowers the insurance rate, making opera- 
tions costs competitive with other mills. 

Donlin Sportswear, New Tazewell's first industry outside its 
numerous tobacco warehouses, expanded through the building 
of a new facility in the Tazewell-New Tazewell Industrial Park. 
This park was acquired by aid from the county. 

Investment in productive new factories exerted a multiplier 
effect on the economy of the entire county. Other important 
expansions resulting from ARA funding enabled the power 
company to report, from July of 1962 to November of 1965, 80 
new residential connections in the towns and 288 outside the 
cities. At the same time there were 30 new commercial and 
industrial connections. Two new low rent housing projects, one 
in Tazewell for $408,000 and one in New Tazewell for $485,000, 
were built in 1965. Claiborne County High School added a 
$325,000 building and the hospital added a $50,000, 20-bed 
addition. At the same time private investment in construction, 
not including new homes, came to $3,902,000. Total invest- 
ments, public and private, came to $9,47 1 ,000. Topping all these 
exploits, an industry operated by Rufus Giles first located direct- 
ly west of the Claiborne County High School, then later at 


88 Tennessee County History Series 

Middlesboro, Kentucky, and then on Route 33 within New 
Tazewell. The Giles family provided another local success story. 
The growth of residences and industries in the Tazewells 
and in the upper portion of Powell Valley has indeed been 
phenomenal, but overall county growth is apparent on any road 
reaching out from the major areas as moden new homes have 
appeared. Building permits issued by the county remained high 
through late 1979 when high construction costs and interest 
rates appreciably affected both builders and buyers. 

What Next for Claiborne County? 

When Claiborne County began its existence in 1801, its gov- 
erning body was known as the Quarterly Court and Plenary 
Sessions and its presiding officer as the Judge, at other times as 
the Chairman. Now, as the decade of the eighties begins, the 
highest legislative body has been re-designated as the County 
Commission composed of elected representatives from each civil 
district. Its presiding officer is now called the Executive Officer. 
In 1980, as in 1801, the scope of local legislative authority has 
been defined by the Tennessee State Legislature. Over the past 
century the tendency has been to prescribe local functions in a 
more detailed fashion. From 1801 to 1835, members of the 
Court were appointed by the governor; now they are elected by 
local citizens. 

Inflation and a decline in the economy of the nation have 
created difficult problems. A certain degree of lawlessness, no- 
tably burglary, has beset the county. Home building has lagged. 
However, the citizens of Claiborne County are a tough breed of 
people; it is expected that they will solve local problems. Those 
who now tackle local government in search of solutions for these 
problems are led by the Executive Officer, William D. Hurst, 
who has a B.S. degree from East Tennessee State University and 
a LL.B. degree from LaSalle. He served one term in the Legisla- 
ture and four years as the county sheriff. Sixteen others are 
elected from specific civil districts. These men are Marvin Sharp, 
Cumberland Gap; Rondal Pete Cosby, Ronald Fultz, Marshall L. 
Gilbert, J. R. Vannoy, and Joe Whitt Welch from Harrogate; Bill 


M. Brooks, Jack Munsey, Earnest Walker, Haskell Wells, and 
Kenneth D. Simmons from New Tazewell; Iveron Grubb and 
Wade Hunter from Speedwell; Clyde Breeding, Charlie Haynes 
McDaniel, and Paul D. Singleton from Tazewell. 

Legacies and Memories 

Many old personal papers, letters, business records, and 
wills, in addition to diaries, are a rich source of information for 
historians, revealing values, beliefs, and practices of the writers 
and the times in which they lived. Family Bibles, traditions, and 
memorabilia provide other clues about those who preceded 
current Claiborne County citizens and who played significant 
roles in the settlement and development of the area. There were 
many deserving of note, but only a few can be mentioned here. 
Among the outstanding leaders of the early days were the 
Graham brothers, Hugh and William, and Benjamin Sewell. 
William, an architect who built two famous homes, later placed 
on the National Register of Historic Places, and Tazewell's Pres- 
byterian Church, was also a leader in religion and education, and 
he owned large tracts of land in the county. His will, which 
follows, has been copied from Claiborne County Will Book "A," 
1836-1847. The text follows, as closely as possible, Graham's 
original spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. His bequests 
particularly reveal his attitudes toward religion, education, and 
slavery, as well as the extent of his land holdings and other 

Last Will and Testament of William Graham 

I, William, Graham, of the County of Claiborne in the State 
of Tennessee, do make and publish this as my last will and 
testament hereby revoking and making null and void all 
other wills by me at any time made. 

1st, I direct that my funeral expenses and all my debts be 
paid as soon after my death as is possible out of any monies 
that I may die possessed of or that may first come to the 
hands of my executors. 

2nd, I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife, Margaret 



Graham, the following named property to have, hold, and 
enjoy the same to her only use and benefit and behalf 
forever to dispose of as she may think proper-vis: The 
southwest half of the home tract of land being the tract 
whereon I now live dividing the said tract in two equal parts, 
beginning at a point upon the Straight Creek road and 
running westwardly to Huddleston's line so as to include the 
Spring where Francis Graham now lives-with the apperti- 
nances thereto belonging or in any wise appertaining-The 
boundaries of the home tract of land above refered to are 
described as follows: Beginning where the Kentucky road 
crosses Russels Creek thence across the Upper Blue hole to 
the top of the bank of the ravine leading in to it thence along 
the edge of said bank until a due west line will strike the east 
end of Austin's north west line thence with said line to 
Huddleston's field, thence with Austin's line northeast to 
Marcum's corner thence northwest to Barron Creek Road 
thence along said road to Cocke and Jack's line, thence with 
it and the line of the Town of Tazewell to Russels Creek and 
the place of beginning. I further give and bequeath unto my 
said wife to dispose of in her own right as she may think 
proper and to her own use and benefit as many of the farm 
horses, mules, and together with gearing and farming uten- 
sils as she may claim or want-also as many milch cows as she 
may choose to keep out of my stock of cattle, — together with 
all or as much as she may want of the household and kitchen 
furniture. I further give and bequeath unto my aforesaid 
wife One hundred dollars annually during her natural life 
to be paid to her Quarterly by my Executors. Also I give her 
ten shares of my stocks in the Union Bank of Tennessee to 
dispose of as she may think proper. The following described 
property I give and bequeath unto my aforesaid wife 
Margaret for and during her natural life-vis: The northeast 
half of the home tract of land as above described with the 
buildings, hereditrements and appertanances thereto be- 
longing or in any wise appertaining, also following named 
negroes, to-wit: Stephen, Eliza, Cynthia, and James. Also 
my Library of books, etc. 

92 Tennessee County History Series 

3rd, I direct that my slaves, namely, Phil and Lewis be set 
free at my death. I further direct that at the death of my 
aforesaid wife Margaret that Eliza, Cynthia, above named, 
and their increase if there should be any, and also James, 
above named, be all of them set free. I hereby enjoin it 
particularly upon my executors hereafter to be named, that 
they will as soon as possible after my death and the death of 
my wife, comply with the requisitions of the laws of this state 
in relation to the Emancipation of Slaves and carry that part 
of my will in to execution by freeing the aforesaid negroes in 
the manner pointed out by law. 

4th, I direct that my executors pay to the negro slave 
Stephen above named the sum of thirty dollars per annum 
during his natural life, my motive for making this last and 
forth bequest is that although Stephen is bound to serve his 
mistress during his natural life, if he should be the longest 
liver yet he is old and a cripple and after her death will 
probably not be able to make a living and a support for 
himself without some assistance, and I am not willing that he 
should be a charge upon any other person. I further direct 
that should said Phil or Lewis become crippled or from any 
other misfortune be unable to make a living and a support 
for themselves, that my executors allow them or either of 
them as the case may be a comfortable support out of my 
Estate about which my said Executors may exercise their 
own discretion as to the amount to be allowed them or either 
of them. 

5th, I give and bequeath unto my nephew William Houston 
that part of my farm lying west of Barron Creek Road 
agreeable to the lines thereof also and half of my far 
meadow including the lower end provided he, the said 
William Houston, will take upon himself the burden and 
trouble of executing my will as one of the Executors thereof. 
Bounded as follows: Beginning on Stewart's line near two 
sugar trees where the fence crosses the branch thence a 
direct course to the fence as to divide the Spring equally 
thence down the fence to a point near the bores in the 


straight creek road thence down the road to the Kentucky 
road thence along the Kentucky Road to Hugh Graham's 
line and to Stewart's line thence along Stewart's line to the 
beginning with the appertanances and to hold the same to 
himself and his heirs and assigns forever. 

7th, I give and bequeath unto my sister Jane McNealance 
for and during her natural life and after her death to the 
heirs of her body forever the following described tract or 
parcle of land being the same place on which she and the 
family now live -beginning at a point in the Strait Creek 
Road near the said road thence along the line up the 
fence and through the aforesaid Spring to Stewart's line 
thence along Stewart's line to the upper corner thence along 
Stewart's and Hall's line to Harper's road and a line with the 
same to the Strait Creek road thence along said road to the 
beginning with the appertanances thereto belonging or in 
any way appertaining forever. 

8th, I give and bequeath unto James Fulkerson and Frances 
his wife their heirs, etc. forever the northeastern half of my 
home tract of land as herinbefore described to take the same 
after the death of my aforesaid wife Margaret with the 
appertenances thereto belonging or in any way appertain- 
ing. My wife aforesaid having a life time Estate in the said 
premises I also give and bequeath to said James Fulkerson 
and Francis his wife a tract of land containing twentyfour 
acres lying upon Walden's Ridge adjoining the Hurst place 
with the appertenances etc. to them and their heirs forever, 
also my library books-together with all my household and 
kitchen furniture of every kind and description, whatever 
except such part as my aforesaid wife may choose to claim in 
her own right for her benefit exclusively agreeable to the 
bequest of her hereinbefore stated. The books and furni- 
ture to remain in the possession and enjoyment of my 
aforesaid wife during her natural life, the said James 
Fulkerson and Frances his wife is to take the bequest to 
them subject to a lien of three hundred dollars to be paid to 
Hugh Houston or his heirs in three annal instalments the 

94 Tennessee County History Series 

first hundred dollars to be paid in twelve months from the 
time said James Fulkerson and his wife Frances shall take 
the possession of the farm and premises herein bequeathed 
to them. I here in further direct that my negro man 
Stephen have the privilege and enjoy the possession of the 
house in which he now lives, and a part of the barn field 
for a truck patch and to be free from the call of every per- 
son to render labour or services of any kind. 

9th, I give and bequeath to any regular Old School Presbyte- 
rian Minister of the Gospel who will live and reside on the 
land and preach regularly to the Congregation of the Pres- 
byterian Church in Tazewell the use and occupation of 
the following described tract or parcel of land to-wit: The 
farm on which Wanakoff now lives, bounded as follows: By 
Harper and the Old Garrisson Roads and Stewart's and 
Hall's lines and a line from the upper part of the road near 
where Bullards road joins it thence a direct line to the 
Straight Creek Road thence with said road to the line of 
the tract of land herein bequeathed to Jane McNealance, 
etc., etc. The better to carry into effect my will in the fore- 
going bequest, I here by Vest the Legal title to the foregoing 
described tract of land in my Executors here after to be 
named to hold the same in trust for the uses above named 
viz: For the benefit of any regular Old school Presbyterian 
Minister of the Gospel, but should any one take possession 
of said farm or tract of land for the purposes above stated, 
and afterwards fail or neglect to preach regularly to the 
congregation at the Presbyterian Church in Tazewell, he 
is to be turned off by the trustees hereafter to be named 
and some other of like persuasion placed in possession who 
will in a Christian like manner comply with requisitions of 
said bequest. My executors who are also made trustees in 
this case are hereby impowered to Convey said tract of land 
to any incorporated Body or the Elders of said Church in 
Trust nevertheless for the purposes aforesaid-as said 
Trustees may think proper and expedient. But if no 
Minister of the Gospel as aforesaid will come and reside 
upon said land for the purposes aforesaid-it shall be the 


duty of said Trustees to rent or lease out said land and 
the monies arising there from to be applied to paying a 
Salary to some Presbyterian Preacher of the Gospel as 
above stated to preach at the Presbyterian Church in 

10th, I give and bequeath to my sister Mary Wier the 
Wallace farm lying between the line of the last above de- 
scribed tract the Old Garrisson road, Stewart's line to his be- 
ginning thence with his beginning line reversed to where it 
strikes a west line of my house tract thence along it east- 
wardly to the East bank of the ravine to the Blue hole and 
thence along the line crossing the blue hole to the be- 
ginning with the same unto herself, her heirs and as- 
signs forever. 

1 lth, I give and bequeath unto my nephew Thomas Wier 
the Dunn tract of land bounded as follows to-wit: by a 
straight line extended westwardly with the course of the 
fence built by Townsley in the spring of 1 84 1 , across the end 
of the Hurst field to the outside line thence eastwardly the 
same course to the back line to include all the land lying 
south of said line-to have and to hold the same with the 
appertenances thereto belonging or in any way appertain- 
ing to himself, his heirs and assigns forever. 

12th, I give and bequeath unto my Brother John Graham 
the ballence of the Hurst tract of land not herein before 
bequeathed and described by . . . and boundaries . . . with 
the appertinances thereto belonging and in any way apper- 
taining to himself and his heirs forever. 

13th, I give and bequeath unto Maria Graham the house 
and lot on which she now lives Bounded as follows: By Hall's 
line, Russel's creek, the Kentucky road and Hugh Graham's 
line, with the appertinances thereto belonging or in any way 
appertaining to have and to hold unto herself, her heirs and 
assigns forever. I further give and bequeath unto said Maria 
Graham, her heir and assigns, two shares in the Northern 
Bank of Kentucky. 

96 Tennessee County History Series 

14th, I give and bequeath unto Francis Graham fifty dollars 
to relieve him of debt. I further direct that if no Minister of 
the Gospel should come to occupy the place whereon said 
Wanakoff now lives, or until the same is leased or rented out 
by Trustees agreeable to a former part of this will, I desire 
that the said Francis Graham be permitted to occupy said 
place free from the payment of rent. 

15th, I give and bequeath 10 shares of my Stocks in the 
Memphis Bank of Tennessee to the old School Foreign 
Missionary Society. 

16th, I give and bequeath 10 shares of my Stock in the 
Memphis Bank of Tennessee to the Trustees of the Old 
School home Missionary Society. 

17th, I give and bequeath five shares of my stock in the 
Memphis Bank of Tennessee to the Bible Society. 

18th, I give and bequeath five shares of my stock in the 
Memphis Bank of Tennessee to the foreign tract Society. 

19th, I give and bequeath to the Trustees of Washington 
College in the County of Washington, East Tennessee, ten 
shares of my stock in the Memphis bank of Tennessee for 
the use and benefit of said College provided it should re- 
main old School but on change to new school to refund the 
money or transfer the stocks back to my Executors here 
after to be named. 

20th, I give and bequeath ten shares of my stock in the 
Memphis Bank of Tennessee to the old School Dokes 
[Doake's] Theological Seminary when it goes into full and 
successful operation in Greene County, Tennessee-should 
said institution not go into operation for five (5) years then 
the ten shares of stock bequeathed to said institution is 
hereby given and bequeathed to the Washington College, if 
it should be in successful operation under the Old School 
restriction. Should said Washington College not be in suc- 
cessful operation as aforesaid under the Old School restric- 
tions then and in that case five of the shares aforesaid of 
Stock in the Memphis Bank is hereby bequeathed to the 


Trustees of Speedwell Academy in the County of Claiborne, 
and the other five shares is hereby bequeathed to the Com- 
mon School fund of Claiborne County to be appropriated 
for the benefit of Common School in the County of 
Claiborne aforesaid. 

21st, I give and bequeath unto the Trustees of Speedwell 
Academy in the County of Claiborne and their Successors 
five shares of my stock in the Memphis Bank of Tennessee 
for the use and benefit of said academy together with the lot 
of Ground for an Academy lying between Kentucky road, 
Maria Graham's lot and Hall's lines, with the appertinances 
to them and their successors forever for the use and pur- 
pose aforesaid. 

22nd, I give and bequeath unto the Common School fund 
of Claiborne County the remaining five shares of my stock 
in the Memphis Bank of Tennessee for the use of Common 
Schools in the County of Claiborne. Also I hereby bequeath 
a sufficient quantity of the ground described in the gift to 
the Trustees of Speedwell Academy the County of 
Claiborne to build a Common house upon for the use of 
Common Schools aforesaid. 

23rd, I give and bequeath to my sister Jane McNealance the 
dividend on five shares of my stock in the Union Bank of 
Tennessee— and at her death the said five shares of Stock in 
the Union Bank is to be equally divided among the children 
of said Jane McNealance together with the farm upon which 
they live as herein before bequeathed. 

24th, I give and bequeath unto my Brother John Graham 
the dividend on three shares of my stock in the Union Bank 
of Tennessee to be paid him by my executors in suitable 
articles of merchandise for the use of his family (no money) 
and at his death the said three shares of Union Bank Stock 
to be equally divided amongst his children. 

25th, I give and bequeath unto William G. Eaton one hun- 
dred dollars to be paid him by my executors three years 
after my death. 

98 Tennessee County History Series 

26th, I give and bequeath unto my Brother Hugh Graham 
five shares of my stock in the Union Bank of Tennessee. 

27th, I give and bequeath unto my nephew William G. 
Patterson the remaining two shares of Stock in the Union 
Bank of Tennessee. 

28th, I give and bequeath unto my sister Mary Wier the 
dividend on five shares of my stock in the Northern Bank of 
Kentucky, and at her death I give and bequeath the five 
shares of Stock in the Northern Bank of Kentucky aforesaid 
to the children of said Mary Wier to be equally divided 
among them. I further direct that the tract of land herein 
before described and bequeathed to said Mary Wier at her 
death be sold and the money arising from said sale be 
equally divided amongst her children. 

30th, I give and bequeath unto my sister Nancy Patterson 
the dividend on five shares of my stock in the Northern 
Bank of Kentucky to be paid to her by my executors and 
at her death I direct that said five shares of Bank Stock 
be equally divided amongst the children of said Nancy 

31st, I direct that my executors pay to each of my slaves 
herein directed to be set free the sum of ten dollars as soon 
as they are emansipated to enable them to leave this State 
and go to a free State. 

32nd, I direct that should my money on hand and available 
debts be not sufficient with remaining dividends to meet my 
bequests recourse must be had to my Stock in the Northern 
Bank of Kentucky and my Executors are hereby impowered 
and directed to sell as much of said Stock as may be neces- 
sary to make up any deficiency of funds to meet all of my 
bequests. But should my money, debts and remaining di- 
vidends be sufficient to meet all my bequests and pay all my 
debts, then the remaining Stock in the Northern Bank of 
Kentucky and the dividends to be a fund to meet any con- 
tingency for and during the natural life of my aforesaid wife 
Margaret Graham. I further direct that her funeral ex- 


penses be paid by my executors after the death of my wife all 
expences and claims having been paid. Then twenty shares 
of my Stock in said Northern Bank of Kentucky together 
with the dividends due thereon are to be equally divided 
amongst any nephews and nieces in proportions to their 
necessities or wants as my Executors may Judge prudent 
and right, about which they are to exercise their own 

33rd, I give and bequeath my remaining twenty shares of 
my stock in the Northern Bank of Kentucky to Washington 
College, East Tennessee and Dokes [Doake's] Theological 
Seminary each ten shares-provided each are in successful 
operation — Or if any one of said institutions are in suc- 
cessful operation then and in that case the twenty shares 
of Bank Stock aforesaid is to go to whichever of said institu- 
tions is in successful operation at the time aforesaid. But if 
neither of said institutions are in successful operation then 
and in that event the said twenty shares of Bank Stock in the 
Northern Bank of Kentucky to be divided amongst my 
nephews and nieces by my executors in the manner above 
stated agreeable to their wants and necessities. 

34th, I direct that my executors sell upon a credit all my 
stock of horses, mules, cattle, etc., etc., except such as my 
wife aforesaid may wish to keep and appropriate to her own 
use. Also such farming Utentcals as my wife may not want 
for her own use. Settle all my accounts, pay of all my debts 
and collect what may be due owning me as soon as possible. 
The ballance due upon Thomas L. Davis's note is to be 
deducted from his share of my estate which he may be 
entitled to by virtue of a devise in my will. 

35th, I direct that my executors-and they are hereby im- 
powered to transfer any Bank Stock herein devised so as to 
carry the provision of my will into complete effect. And 
they are hereby authorized and impowered to appoint and 
make an attorney to transfer said Stock as to my said execu- 
tors may be most convenient. I hereby recommend to my 

100 Tennessee County History Series 

executors to nominate and appoint Robert Patterson of the 
City of Philadelphia to make such transfers of Stock as it 
may be inconvenient for my executors to make themselves. 

36th, I hereby bequeath unto my wife Margaret Graham ten 
shares of my stock in the Northern Bank of Kentucky 
together with one yoke of oxen and the ox waggon. In lieu 
of and instead of the Southwest half of the home tract of 
land which I had in the foregoing part of this will be- 
queathed to her, in her own right, to dispose of as She might 
think propper. I vest in her now a lifetime estate in said tract 
of land, and after the death of my aforesaid wife that part of 
the home tract of land as well as the north east half of said 
tract with the appertinances thereto belonging to be vested 
in said James Fulkerson and Frances his wife, their heirs 
and assigns forever. The Bank Stock herein bequeathed to 
my wife together with the oxen and waggon is to be at her 
entire disposal and for her own use and benefit and should 
there be a crop of grain growing on said home tract of land 
at the time of my death it is to be for the sole use and benefit 
of my said wife. 

37th. Whereas in Consequence of the last bequest to my wife 
Margaret of ten shares of Stock in the Northern Bank of 
Kentucky there will be only ten shares left for the Washing- 
ton College and Dokes Theological Seminary, I hereby 
direct that five shares of said Bank Stock go to each of said 
Institutions upon the restrictions and conditions that the 
ten shares of said Stock was [bequeathed] to them. 

39th. And lastly I do hereby nominate and appoint my 
Brother Hugh Graham and my nephew William Houston 
my executors, without giving security, with full power and 
authority to do everything necessary to carry in to complete 
effect every clause and bequest in this my will, in testimony 
whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal this 22nd day 
of January in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight 
hundred and forty-one. 

N.B. The last line in the 5th bequest which is somewhat 


crowded was written previous to Signing. In the 3rd bequest 
the Words "and the death of my wife" and the words 
"Francis Graham" in the 14th bequest, and the words 
"which may be entitled to" in the 24th bequest, were all 
interlined previous to signing. The words "In the Town of 
Tazewell" in the 13th bequest and the words "my broth- 
er" in the 14th bequest, and the word "hogs" in the 34th 
bequest, were stricken out previous to signing and publish- 
ing, etc., etc. 

Signed and published 

in our presents 

and we were 

called to witness 

the same this 22nd January 1841 

David Richardson 
Thomas J. Johnson 

William Graham (Seal) 

Both the Grahams and Benjamin Sewell, a leading merchant 
and landowner, were money lenders. Because of the absence of 
chartered banking facilities in many frontier communities, peo- 
ple were dependent on loans from private individuals. Sewell 
conducted a profitable private loan business in Tazewell, as in 
indicated by the extensive lists of debtors attached to his will. For 
the benefit of his executors, he divided the lists into those debts 
"considered good" and those "considered doubtful and bad." 
Following Sewell's death, an inventory list of his personal estate 
included such items as straw bonnets, razor straps, "4 papers of 
fever and ague powders," "5 vials of wormseed oil," "4% Doz. 
Worm Destroyer," tanners' tools, ladies', men's, and children's 
saddles, and other items that a frontier merchant might have in 
his store. The variety of coins listed included gold eagles and 
sovereigns, "Beehler pieces" and a "silver double Thaler." 
Sewell's will shows him to be a man with definite ideas about his 
widow's possible remarriage and his sons' education for the 
ministry. The will, which was written on September 2, 1846, 
includes two codicils dated March 23, 1847, and April 1, 1847. 

102 Tennessee County History Series 

The final witnesses signed on February 9, 1848. Taken from the 
handwritten copy, the text follows the original as closely as possi- 
ble. Sewell rarely used any punctuation. 

Benjamin Sewell's Will 

Tazewell Tennessee I Benjamin Sewell of the county of 
Claiborne in the State of Tennessee being of Sound minde 
and Memory and cauling to minde the frailness of my 
Boddy and the shortness of life and in ordor to a dispossi- 
tion of my worldy affects according to my will and desser 
after my death, do make and publish this my last will and 

First It is my will and desire that my Executers hereafter 
named upon my death take charge of. and into their posses- 
sion all goods wars and Merchandise which may be on hand 
and unsold at the time of my death also all my money on 
hand, and all my murcantile books and papers of Every 
discription and all my books of accounts Notes bills or bonds 
for the payment of Money, and all Securites for debts due 
me and that my said Executers make out a perfect inventory 
of the same, and of all debts and accounts due me and it is 
my wish that my said Executers shall as Soon as they can 
collect all debts due me by note bill bond Judgment account 
or otherwise, and that with regards to my stock of goods 
wears and merchandise on hand at my death that my Said 
Executers take charge of the same and sell the same or 
dispose of them in the Manor which to them may Seam the 
best for the intrest of my estate 

Second It is my wish and desire that all my Just debts be 
paid by my Executers as soon after my death as posable out 
of the first money which may come to their hands out of my 

Thirdley I Give and bequeath to my Son Thomas Sewell 
and to his heirs and assigns for ever two tracts of land lying 
in Claiborne county Tennessee on Gap Creek between 
Sumeys Mill and Powels River one of Said tracts containing 
four hundred acres and the other containing one hundred 


acres more or less and both of which Tracts of Land were 
granted to me by the State of Tennessee also I give and 
bequeath to my Said Son Thomas Sewell and to his heirs and 
assigns forever two other tracts of Land lying in Claiborne 
County Tennessee on the south side of Powels River adjoin- 
ing the lands of Thos J Harvy being the place called the 
dogwood Sinks and both of which tracts of land were 
granted by the State of Tennessee to John Trease one of 
said tracts for two hundred acres and the other for one 
hundred acres and convaid to me by the said John Treease 
and I also give and bequeath to my Said Son Thomas Sewell 
two hundred dollars in money to be paid to him by my 
Executers three years after my death 

Fourthly I give and bequeath to my daughter Susanah 
W Whetsel and to her heirs and assigns forever the lands 
conveyed to me by James Manday in Claiborne County 
Tennessee and being origanlly three tracts of which two 
were for fifty acres Each and one for forty acres all adjoining 
Each other and conveyed to me in two Deeds adjoining the 
lands of Samuel Hamilton, and Thomas Elison and the tract 
formerley owned by Asa Watson and I also give and be- 
queath to my Said daughter Susanah W Whitsel and to her 
heirs and assignes forever one other tract of land in said 
county of Claiborne adjoining the lands above bequeathed 
Containing fifty acres more or less and being a tract of land 
bought by me from Lawson Eastrage and I further give and 
bequeath to my Said daughter Susanah W Whitsel one 
hundred dollars in money to be paid to her by my Executers 
three years after my death 

Fifthly I Give and bequeath to my daughter Betsey D 
Burdine and to her heirs and assigns for ever three tracts of 
land lying in Claiborne County Tennessee one of Said tracts 
being the caulled the William Murray place and being the 
place whereon Jacob Pike now lives containing one hundred 
acres more or les also one other tract adjoining the above 
named tract and which I bought from Jacob Pike containing 
fifty acres more or less and the third tract lying in the same 

104 Tennessee County History Series 

neighborhood but not adjoining the others and which tract 
I bought from James Mandy Senr. containing fifty acres 
more or less and I further give and bequeath to my Said 
daughter Betsey D burdine a life estate in a negro woman 
named nancy and her children to Serve her during the 
natural life of my said daughter and I give and bequeath 
said negro woman Nancy and all her increas upon the death 
of my said daughter Betsey D Burdine to all the children of 
my Said daughter living at the time of her death and to their 
heirs and assigns forever 

Sixthley I Give and bequeath to my Grand Son John 
Livis Burdine Son of Betsey D Burdine two hundred dollars 
to be paid by my Executers within four years after my death 
and I also give and bequeath to my Grand Son Samuel 
Patton Burdine two hundred dollars to be paid to him by my 
executors within four years after my death 

Seventhly I Give and bequeath to Matilda Jones my 
daughter and to her heirs and assigns forever all the lands in 
Powels Vally which were conveyed to me by John Bruster 
and John V Bruster lying in Powels Vally in Claiborne 
County Tennessee the deed to me caulling for two hundred 
and Eleven acres more or less and I also Give and bequeath 
to my said daughter Matilda Jones one hundred dollars in 
Money to be paid by my Executers with in four years after 
my death 

Eightly I Give and bequeath to my Grand daughter 
Virginia Rogers Daughter of Malinda Rogers a female slave 
named Laura who was a daughter of my slave Lucy to have 
and to hold said slave Laura and her increas to the said 
Virginia Rogers and her heirs for Ever and I also Give and 
bequeath to the said Virginia Rogers three hundred dollars 
in money the money to be paid over and the said slave and 
increas to be put in her possession when she arrives at the 
age of twenty one years or sooner if she should Marry 
before that time 

Ninthly having heretofore made advances to all my chil- 
dren here in before named I do hereby confirm to them all 
gifts on advances heretofore made by me to them and their 


heirs forever in addition to the present bequests here in 
made to them 

Tenthley I give and bequeath to my daughter Margret 
Virginia Sewell and to her heirs and assigns forever the 
following named lands and lots of land to wit five lots in the 
present limits of Tazewell in what is called new town on the 
east side of main street three of said lots adjoining main 
Street and adjoining Each other and number in the survey 
and plane of said part of the Town as lots No 18 19 and 20 
the other two lots lying back east of the above lots and 
numbered No 21 and twenty two said lots adjoining the 
north alley of the old Town also two other lots of land now 
under fence and in my possession immedateley back of the 
lots above bequeathed and running down the Hill and cross- 
ing russels creek being the two upper creek lots of land 
bellonging to me and being the furthest up the creek of any 
of my Creek lots I also give and bequeath to my said daugh- 
ter margrat Virginia Sewell and to her heirs and assigns for 
ever my upper meddow which I now have on russels Creek 
and including as now fenced a potion of land on both sids of 
said Creek but lying princapally on the east side and above 
the old tan yard to run as it is now fenced and also a Small 
potion of land on the outside of said meddow on the west 
side yet uninclosed beginning on a rock corner neer the 
Meddow bar and running a direct line to a ceeder corner 
Standing Just above the presant Mullbery road and from 
thence to a rock corner just out side of the woods lot fence 
thence with said fence to the beginning I further give and 
bequeath to my said daughter Margret Virginia Sewell and 
to her heirs and assigns forever a lot of ground to contain 
one half acre to be laid off of the lower end of my wheat field 
on the upper side of Town immediately above and adjoin- 
ing what is called back street and to be laid of next to and 
immediately north of a lot of one quarter of an acre sold by 
me to John A Hollinsworth so as to leave a lane or alley 
twenty feet wide between it and Hollingsworths Lot and 
which lane or alley it is my wish should be left open for a 
passway to the field above the Lot said Lot to be run so as to 

106 Tennessee County History Series 

make seven and a half poles in front on Back street and to 
extend in length up the hill eleven poles so as to make full 
one half acre. I further give and bequeath to my said daugh- 
ter Margaret Virginia Sewell and to her heirs and assigns 
forever a certain tract of land in Claiborne County Tennes- 
see which I bought from Ransome Day Junior on the waters 
of Sycamore Creek containing sixty acres more or less And I 
further give and bequeath to my said daughter Margaret 
Virginia Sewell and to her heirs and assigns forever one 
other tract or parcel of land in claiborne county bought by 
me from Sally Lanhan and adjoining the lands of Jacob 
Cloud containing eighty acres more or less I also give and 
bequeath to my said daughter Margret Virginia Sewell and 
to her heirs and assigns forever the following named slaves 
and their increase namely a Negro man Mack a negro 
woman named Emiline and a negro boy named Jefferson. 

Eleventh I give and bequeath to my son James Joseph 
Sewell and to his heirs and assigns forever a tract of land 
near Tazewell called the Tan yard place conveyed to me by 
James Allen on Russels creek on the east side of the creek 
and also a Lot of land adjoining the above called the woods 
Lot on the west Side of Russels creek between the creek and 
the Mulberry road to run as it is now fenced. Also a tract of 
land in claiborne county which was conveyed to me by David 
C. Posey on both sides of the Kentucky road containing 
three hundred and fifty eight acres more or less. Also one 
acre of my present wheat field back of and adjoining the 
Town of Tazewell to be laid off to him in a manner conve- 
nient for him and the others to whom portions of said field 
may be divised. I also give and bequeath to my said son 
James Joseph Sewell and to his heirs and assigns forever the 
following slaves and their increase namely a negro man 
named Barnet a negro named James and one named 

Twelfth I give and bequeath to my son Houston Sewell 
and to his heirs and assigns forever one Lot in the Town of 
Tazewell on which my Brick Store house is situated with the 
appurtenances there to belonging on main Street also a tract 


of land near Tazewell on both sides of Russells creek called 
the Dobbs tract, being the tract on which Chesley Dobbs 
formerly lived with the appurtenances thereto belonging 
including the grist mill, containing ninety acres more or less 
and also two fields now in cultivation adjoining the same and 
between said tract and the Kentuckey road and said fields 
being a part of the Posey lands. Also a tract of land where 
Beverly Marcum once lived one hundred and thirty one 
acres more or less conveyed to me by Peter Marcum I also 
give and bequeath to my said son Houston Sewell and to his 
heirs and assigns forever the following Slaves and their 
increase to wit John, Sally, and Henry- 
Thirteenth I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary 
Louisa Sewell, and to her heirs and assigns for ever The two 
Lots in the town of Tazewell on which I now live and on 
which is Situated my Brick Dwelling house with the 
appurtenances thereto belonging, on Main Street and also 
two Lots in said Town on the oposite side of the street and 
immediately fronting the two lots above named, with the 
appurtenances thereto belonging also one other Lot in 
Tazewell back of the dwelling house Lots, and on which a 
Kitchen is built and also the balance of my wheat field back 
of Tazewell after laying off the Lots heretofore devised out 
of the same I also give and bequeath to my said daughter 
Mary Louisa Sewell and to her heirs and assigns forever the 
following named slaves to wit, Dilsey and her two children, 
George and Amanda and their increase and also my negro 
woman Maria and her increase. 

Fourteenth I give and bequeath to my wife Ann Jane 
Sewell and to her heirs and assigns forever all my household 
and kitchen furniture of every description whatever and all 
grain and provisions of every kind which may be on hand at 
the time of my death, and also all crops on hand and grow- 
ing if any and also all farming utensils on hand and all my 
horses, cattle, sheep and hogs on hand at the time of my 
death and also all wagons, carriages and gearing & harnes 
on hand at the time of my death — I also give and bequeath 
to my said wife Ann Jane Sewell the right and privilege of 

108 Tennessee County History Series 

living in and occupying my Brick house in which I live and 
the Lots bequeathed to my daughter Mary Louisa Sewell, 
until my said daughter Mary Louisa arrives at the age of 
twenty one years. And I also give and bequeath to my said 
wife Ann Jane Sewell the privilege of using and occupying 
and receiving the rents and profits to her own use of all Lots 
and lands of every name and description which is herein 
before bequeathed by me to her said four children James 
Joseph, Margaret Virginia Houston and Mary Louisa 
Sewell, until the said four children arrive respectively to the 
ages of twenty one years. And also it is my will and desire 
that my said wife Ann Jane Sewell have the use of and 
receive the services and hire of all the negroes herein be- 
queathed to my said four children until the said children 
respectively arrive at the ages of twenty one years. But the 
privileges herein given to my said wife Ann Jane Sewell of 
the occupation and enjoyment of and receiving the rents 
and profits of houses, Lots and tracts of land bequeathed to 
my four children therein is also to cease and be at an end 
whenever My said wife Ann Jane Sewell marries again and 
the same to go to my said children immediately upon the 
marriage of my said wife without respect to the ages of said 
children And the rights of my said wife to the use, services 
and hire of the said negroes bequeathed to my said four 
children, are to cease upon her marriage and said negroes 
to pass upon said marriage into the possession of my said 
four children or their guardians for them immediately 
upon the marriage of my said wife Ann Jane Sewell without 
respect to the ages of my said children — Also I give and 
bequeath to my said wife Ann Jane Sewell fifty dollars 
annually during the time She remains a widow, to be paid to 
her by my executers And it is my wish that my said wife Ann 
Jane Sewell shall live with my daughter Mary Louisa Sewell 
as much longer than the times above specified in the dwell- 
ing house and Lots bequeathed to said Mary Louisa, as my 
said wife and daughter can agree together. 

Fifteenth — It is also my will and I hereby bequeath to 
my said four children, James Joseph, Margaret Virginia, 


Houston and Mary Louisa Sewell all monies arising 
from my estate after payment of my debts, funeral ex- 
pences, and expences of incident to the winding up of my 
estate, and all property of mine real and personal not 
otherwise specially bequeathed, to be equally divided be- 
tween them to have and to hold the same to them and 
their heirs forever — It is also my wish that my said four 
children, James Joseph Margaret Virginia, Houston, and 
Mary Louisa Sewell shall receive an education Suitable 
to their estates and several capacities so far as can 
reasonably be done. 

Sixteenth It is my wish and desire that my two sons 
James Joseph, and Houston Sewell be educated for the 
ministry and that as soon as can be done that they be placed 
in some suitable institution for the study of Divinity. 

Seventeenth It is my will and desire that in case any one 
or more of my said four children James Joseph Margaret 
Virginia, Houston and Mary Louisa Should die that the 
survivors of said four children Shall take and receive and 
hold the lands, slaves, money or property bequeathed to 
those so dieing or being dead, to have and to hold the same 
to the said survivors of them and their heirs and assigns 
forever — And it is also my will and desire that should my 
wife Ann Jane Sewell die before I do that the property here 
in bequeathed to her of every kind and description go to, 
and is here by divised to my said four children James 
Joseph, Houston, Margaret Virginia, and Mary Louisa 
Sewell or the survivors of them to be equally divided be- 
tween the — In Testamony whare of I have hereunto Set my 
hand and Seal this 2nd day of September in the year of our 
Lord one thousand Eight hundred and forty six 

Benjamin Sewell (Seal) 
Signed Sealed and acknowledged in the presance of us, and 
we called on by the testator to witness the same and wit- 
nessed in the presance of the Testator the date above 
Walter R Evans 
James Hardy 
R C Hansand 

110 Tennessee County History Series 

The foregoin will was acknowledged before us by the Re- 
quest of the Testator & in his presence this 9th day February 

John S. M. Dickinson 
M Comiger — 

1st Codicil 

I Benjamin Sewell of the county of Claiborne and state of 
Tennessee being of sound minde and memory having 
perchased and acquired the title to other lands since the 
making and publishing my will to which this is an addition, 
for the purpose of disposing of the same according to my 
wish and desire for the purpose also of making what I 
conceive to be a more suitable division amongst my children 
do make and publish this codicil, as a part of my said will and 
hereby confirming all things contained in my said Will 
which are left unaltered in this codicil. 

First; My negro man Mack heretofore bequeathed to my 
daughter Margaret Virginia Sewell. I now take from my 
said daughter and I here by give and bequeath my said 
negro man Mack to my wife Ann Jane Sewell during her 
natural life, and at her death to belong to my four children 
Margaret Virginia Sewell, James Joseph Sewell, Houston 
Sewell and Mary Louisa Sewell and to their heirs and assigns 
forever — And it is my wish that my said wife Ann Jane 
Sewell shall not sell or transfer her said interest in said slave 
Mack, in any way, or to any person unless it be to my said 
four children I further give and bequeath to my said wife 
Ann Jane Sewell to have and to hold during her natural life 
two Lots of land laid off in the division of the Posey lands, 
and known in said division as Lot No 1 in the East land and 
No. 9 in the West of the Kentuckey road and which were 
allotted to George W. Posey and upon which he lives, and 
being part of my purchase from said Posey said two lots 
containing when consolidated twenty two and three fourth 
acres and devised from each other by the Kentuckey road 
and after her death I give and bequeath the said two lots of 
land to my said four children Margaret Virginia James 


Joseph, Houston and Mary Louisa and to their heirs and 
assigns forever 

Secondly — I give and bequeath to my daughter Margaret 
Virginia Sewell and to her heirs and assigns forever my 
negro woman Lucy and her increase if any in Leiu and stead 
of the negro man Mack taken from a former bequest to my 
said daughter. I further give and bequeath to my said 
daughter Margaret Virginia Sewell, and to her heirs and 
assigns forever Lots No. 10 and 11 and all the Lot No. 9 
except the part cut off by the Kentuckey road and upon 
which I have lately built a Brick Shop — said Lots lying in the 
corporate Limits of Tazewell, in what is called New Town. 

Thirdly I give and bequeath to my son James Joseph Sewell 
in addition to what I have before given him and to his heirs 
and assigns forever that part of Lot No. 9 in what is called 
New town not above bequeathed to my daughter Margaret, 
and being the part upon which my Brick Shop is built, 
including said Shop, and I also give and bequeath to my said 
son two sets of Blacksmiths tools now on hand in the shop I 
also give and bequeath to my said son James Joseph Sewell 
and to his heirs and assigns forever my Lot No. 26 in what is 
called new town and upon which John Russel formerly lived 

Fourthly — I give and bequeath to my daughter Margaret 
Virginia Sewell and to her heirs and assigns forever a cer- 
tain Lot of land immediately north of Tazewell and between 
the town Lots and the Posey Spring and west of the Mul- 
berry road and which I lately purchased from Alexander 
Fullington and hold by title Bond the deed not being yet 
made I also give and bequeath to my said daughter 
Margaret Virginia Sewell and her heirs and assigns forever 
a tract of land in Powells Valley purchased by me from 
Thos L. Davis containing two hundred and seventy acres 
more or less adjoining the Brewster lands. 

Fifthly I give and bequeath to my four children Margaret 
Virginia Sewell, James Joseph Sewell, Houston Sewell, and 
Mary Louisa Sewell, and to their heirs and assigns forever a 

1 1 2 Tennessee County History Series 

certain tract of land in Claiborne county on both sides of the 
Kentuckey road near Tazewell containing one hundred and 
ninety acres, more or less, and which tract of land I lately 
purchased from George W. Posey and also to include what is 
called the pond Lot No. 1 also purchased from said Posey. 

Sixthly I hereby give and bequeath to my wife Ann Jane 
Sewell the rents and profits of all my lands and lots hereby 
bequeathed to my children herein named until they respec- 
tively arrive at the age of twenty one years. 

Seventhly — All lands tenements hereditaments, of which I 
may die seized and possessed, not Specially bequeathed, 
and which I now own or may hereafter purchase, I give and 
bequeath to my said four children, Margaret Virginia, 
James Joseph, Houston and Mary Louisa Sewell and to their 
heirs and assigns forever. 

Eighthly — Should I hereafter sell or dispose of any lands or 
other property bequeathed in the will to which this is an 
addition, or in this codicil, it is my wish that my so doing shall 
not operate as any revocation of my will, but that the 
Legater to whom the same shall have been bequeathed 
shall be reimbursed for the same out of my estate to the 
value of the same — 

Ninthly. It is my wish and desire that should my executers or 
administrators think any Swap or change of Lots or proper- 
ty amongst my children, to be necessary or proper accord- 
ing to circumstances they are hereby fully authorized to 
make the same — 

Tenthly — I hereby nominate and appoint William Houston 
James F. Hooper and Walter R. Evans, executors of my will 
and this codicil, which is an addition thereto — to carry into 
effect my wishes as expressed in my said will and in this 
addition thereto — Given under my hand and seal this 23rd 
day of March 1847—. 

Benjamin Sewell (Seal) 

Signed Sealed and acknowledged in the 
Presants of us and we cauled on by the 


Testator to witness the Same and witnessed in 
presants of the testator the date above 
James Hardy 

R C Hansard 

The foregoing codicil was 
acknowledged before us by 
Request of the Testator 
and in his presants this 
9th day of February 1848 
John S. M. Dickinson 
M. Comiger 

Codicil 2nd 

I Benjamin Sewell being of Sound minde and disposeing 
memory for the more Satisfactory disposition of my estate 
after my death do make and establish this Second codicil to 
my last will and Testament to wit 

1st the negro Slave Laura which in my will I give to my 
Grand daughter Virginia Rogers I hereby revoke and take 
from her and in leiu thereof I give and bequeath to my said 
Grand daughter Virginia Rogers the additional Sum of 
three hundred dollars to be paid to her by my executers 
after my death, with the other sum of Money heretofore 
bequeathed to her. 

2nd I hereby give and bequeath to my daughter Margret 
Virginia Sewell in addition to the other bequeaths hereto- 
fore given to her my Said negro Girl Laura and her increase 
forever in order that said negro girl may go with her 
mother who was in my will bequeathed to my Said daughter 
Margret Virginia Sewell and on account of this bequest to 
the said Margret Virginia sewell I hereby revoke so much of 
my former bequest to her as give to her and her heirs a 
certain tract of land in Claiborne County on the water of 
Syckamoore Creek containing Sixty acres more or less and 
which I bought of Ransom Dayjun. as 1 expect to make Sale 
of Said land. 

1 14 Tennessee County History Series 

3rd I hereby confirm all things contained in my will and 1st 
Codicil and which have not been revoked or altered by me 
at this time. 

4th as I have a grate meny debts owin to me and which it is 
prabable my executers cannot collect otherwise than by 
taking produse or labor I therefore hereby authorise and it 
is my wish that my executers proceed to collect all such 
debts when ever they can do so either in produse and which 
shall be applide to the use of my presant famaley or in work 
or labor for the benefit of my present famaley or of my 
estate hereby vesting a discrestianary power in my execu- 
ters with regarde to all such debts and all collections in this 
way for the use of my presant famaley shall be good and 
vailed and my said executers shall be allowed therefor an 
Settlement as if paid out in the ordinary way. 

5th as I have in contemplation to build a new mill upon my 
lands called the dobbs place and which land is bequeathed 
to my son Houston Sewell it is my wish and disire that 
should the same not be bilt or completed before my death 
that my executors have the same built or completed as 
contemplated by me and the said mill and appurtenances 
Shall and I give and bequeath the same to my son Houston 
Sewell and his heirs with the lands upon which it is to be 
built, as heretofore bequeathed to him, but my wife Ann 
Jane Sewell shall have the same right to the enjoyment of 
the use and rents and profits, and for the same length of 
time as she has heretofore given her in my other lands 
bequeathed by me, but no more and no longer — And it is 
my wish that my executors use such debts and funds in 
building or completing said mill, as in their discretion will 
be least injurious and most beneficient to my estate and 
shall have the right to use all such parts or materials of the 
old mill now standing as may be useful in the new mill. The 
old mill to stand and kept in operation until in building the 
new mill it becomes necessary to be taken to pieces or 
removed. In testimony where of I have hereunto set my 
hand and seal this 1st day of April 1847. 

Benjamin Sewell (Seal) 


Signed Sealed and acknowledged in 

Our presence and we cauled upon 

By the testator to witness the same 

The date above and done in his presence 


James Hardy 

R. C. Hansard 

The foregoing codicil 

acknowledged before us 

by request of the 

testator and in his 

presence February 9th 1848 

J. S. M. Dickinson 

M. Comiger 

In this is included my last will & Testament in which there is 
a request that my two little sons Joseph & Houston Sewell be 
educated for the Ministry but now say that is not worthwhile 
unless they can be got willing as they cannot be to advantage 
for to that study this I leve for the satisfaction of my execu- 
ters of said will given under my hand June 18th 1847. 


J. S. M. Dickinson 

Benjn Sewell 

Harvey Ritchie 

The memorabilia of the Ritchie family included this tribute 
to Harvey Ritchie, Claiborne County court clerk in the latter part 
of the nineteenth century, and a representative to the Legisla- 
ture in 1904. Published following Ritchie's death in 1916, the "In 
Memoriam" was heavily bordered in black and was signed "Writ- 
ten By A Friend." 


The subject of this sketch, HARVEY RITCHIE, was 
born in Hancock County Tennessee, on the 12th day of 
December, 1845. He died on the 6th day of September, 
1916, at his home in Claiborne County, Tennessee. He was 

116 Tennessee County History Series 

the son of Mr. James Ritchie, and his mother was formerly 
Miss Barbara Parkey. 

Harvey Ritchie's parents both died in 1850, leaving him 
an orphan at the age of five years, to battle life as best he 
might. He had two brothers, William and Peter; two sisters, 
Mrs. Mary Riley (Later Mrs. Mary Neff) and Mrs. Elizabeth 
Fugate. All these are dead except Peter Ritchie. 

On the 20th day of June, 1867, Harvey Ritchie and Miss 
Lucy Ann Mason were united in marriage, and to this union 
four children were born, J. T. Ritchie, Mrs. W. N. Day, J. P. 
Ritchie and W. V. Ritchie, all of whom are living and reside 
in this county. 

Mrs. Ritchie preceded him to the grave, having de- 
parted this life on the 6th day of May, 1909, after suffering 
as an invalid for more than thirty years, during all of which 
time Mr. Ritchie was a devoted and attentive husband and 

One year after his marriage Mr. Ritchie was converted 
and united with the Missionary Baptist Church, at Little 
Sycamore, and lived a Christian life, and died in the Faith. 

Harvey Ritchie was a public man, always working for the 
betterment of the county, and helping his fellow man. He 
held several offices of trust, and was always faithful in the 
discharge of his duties. He was elected County Court Clerk 
in 1878 and 1882 (eight years). Trustee in 1886, Justice of 
the Peace in the "Old 6th" in 1 894, and Representative of his 
county in 1904, proving the confidence and esteem of his 
fellow man. 

He had great energy and perseverance. Up to the time 
of his death he was actively engaged, and was always ready 
to lend a helping hand to one in need. 

Harvey Ritchie is gone from earth after a long life, and 
his many friends and relatives miss him sorely. His life was 
careful and his time while on earth was utilized for a pur- 
pose and the purpose of his life was to be careful. The 
elevation and development of his children was one of his 
chief ambitions, and he was always a tender father, loving 
husband, loyal citizen and a kind friend. 


On the 12th day of August, 1916, he was united in 
marriage the second time, taking to wife Miss Minnie 
McBee, who is left, with the other sorrowing relatives to 
mourn his departure. 

May he rest in peace, and may many more men like him 
be given to grace the land in which we live. He came, he 
served, he has gone to his eternal reward, and the monu- 
ment he leaves is more lasting than granite: the esteem and 
love of his fellow man. 

(Written by a friend) 

John Rial Johns 

Landowner, merchant, and minister, John Rial Johns and his 
family came to Tazewell in the late nineteenth century and were 
significant in the business and real estate activities there as well as 
the Baptist denomination. A present day decendant of Johns, 
Newton P. Owen, of Louisville, Kentucky, has collected informa- 
tion about the Johns and related families in Hancock, Hawkins, 
and Claiborne counties. He discovered that Thomas Johns lived 
in central Virginia in the 1750s. Henry, Thomas's son, born in 
1770, came to Hawkins County, Tennessee, before 1810 and his 
first son, Rial, was born there in 1812. The family moved to 
Kentucky but returned to the Grainger County area by 1830, 
probably because of speculation in land values. Later Henry 
purchased land along Mulberry Creek in Hancock county and 
remained there for the rest of his life. Rial Johns and his wife, 
Martha Alice Slaton, lived for over 30 years on a 200 acre tract on 
Ivy Ridge which they later sold to Andrew J. Greene and his wife 
Susan. The 12 children of Rial Johns attended Greasy Creek 
Academy in Sneedville, Tennessee. Following the sale of the Ivy 
Ridge land, Johns bought land in the "Flat Gap" community. 

In 1887 Martha Johns died of pneumonia and was buried in 
the family cemetery at Flat Gap. Following Martha's sudden 
death, the aging Rial desired to continue living in his home at 
Flat Gap. Rial's other children agreed to relinquish their claim to 
a portion of Rial's home, if their youngest brother, John Rial, 
would pledge to take care of their father. John Rial Johns had 
married Sarah Ann Turner in 1885. As their family grew to 

118 Tennessee County History Series 

eight children, the Flat Gap home was sold and a larger house at 
Straight Creek Road and the Southern Railroad tracts in 
Tazewell was purchased. It was called the "Leibold Place." 
Fulfilling the agreement made earlier with his brothers and 
sisters, John Rial continued to care for his father until his death 
in 1898. He was buried beside his wife in the family cemetery. 
On November 12, 1898, John Rial Johns was ordained a 
Baptist minister. His certificate of ordination reads: 

This is to certify that Brother Riley Johns is a member of the 
New Tazewell Baptist Church in good standing and full 
membership, trusting that God has called him to preach the 
gospel, we hereby license him to engage in grate work and 
we offer to God our earnest prayers that he may become a 
workman that needest not to be ashamed, rightly dividing 
the word of truth. By order of the Church this 12th day of 
November 1898. Protem Elder, W. S. Winfrey, Moderator, 
James B. Campbell, Church Clerk. 

Early in the twentieth century the Reverend Johns and his 
wife, Sarah, sold the Leibold home and farm and moved to a 
residence in the center of New Tazewell. Since their names 
frequently appear on land transfers, it is evident that the Johnses 
owned considerable real estate during these years. The Leibold 
farm contained over 200 hundred acres in what is now the 
southeastern part of New Tazewell. Soon after arriving in New 
Tazewell, John Rial entered the produce business with his 
brother-in-law, George Livesay, who had married John Rial's 
youngest sister, Eliza. During the five years that Johns and Live- 
say brokered train loads of produce for northern markets, the 
family continued to live in the house in the center of town. 

Livesay continued the business in New Tazewell after the 
partnership was dissolved, and Johns moved his family to 
Andersonville, Tennessee, to make it possible for his children to 
attend the academy there and to open two general stores, one in 
Andersonville and one in Bethel. Johns worked in the vicinity as 
an itinerant Baptist evangelist and continued his business enter- 
prises until 1919 when the family moved to the Clinton, Tennes- 
see, area. The last home of John Rial Johns was at Brushey Creek 


across from Hinds Creek Baptist Church, where he died in 1939 
and was buried in the church cemetery. His wife, Sarah, died in 
1941 and was buried beside her husband at Brushey Creek. 
Other related family names include Amyx, Blankenbecker, 
Crutchfield, Drinnon, Eaton, Fincannon, Gordon, Greene, 
Payne, Saylor, Stapleton, Stone, Wilder, and Wolfe. 

Fielding Lewis 

Fielding Lewis, ancestor of the Mark Lewis family of banking 
note in Tazewell and Harrogate, was born in 1767 and married 
Mary Gamble in 1790 in North Carolina. They moved to 
Hawkins-Grainger-Claiborne County area and bought 540 
acres of land for about $500 in 1801. Their twelve children in- 
cluded six boys and six girls, the girls marrying into the Goin, 
Harp, Moore and Simmin families. The homeplace is thought 
to have been in the Lilly Grove Community. William Lewis, the 
oldest son born in 1792, married Sarah (Sally) Boyers in 1813. 
Sixteen children, eight boys and eight girls, were born to this 
couple. Through marriage, Arnwine, Beeler, Campbell, Davis, 
Leabor, Mayes, Waymeyer, and Walker became related 
family names. 

The Long Bottom Community, about five miles from Long 
Mountain, was another Lewis homeplace. The third son of 
William Lewis, James M. Lewis, was born in 1821 and from his 
marriage to Sally Russell was born William Lewis in 1860. 
William married Mary Shumate in 1890, and they produced 
twelve children, one of the seven boys being Mark Isaac, born in 
1903. The girls married into Day, Gose, and Ryan families. Mark 
Lewis married Stella Parkey, and they have five children. Other 
Day, Gose, Lewis, and Ryan children number about 22, and 
there are numerous grandchildren. 

These early settlers came to the county and brought with 
them the talents and perseverence to create a lasting imprint 
upon the land and to create a sense of community among them 
which is the great legacy to today's citizens. 

Suggested Readings 

Braun, Myrtle Wolfinbarger and Phillips, Sharon Chadwell. The Chad- 
well Heritage. San Rafael, Ca.: published by authors, n.d. 

Breeding, Robert. From London to Appalachia. Knoxville: published by 
author, 1979. 

Channing, Edward. A History of the United States, Vol. II. New York: 
Macmillan, 1921. 

City of New Tazewell Records, City Hall. 

City of Tazewell Records, City Hall; especially the Dockett of 1846- 

Claiborne County Hospital and Nursing Home Records, Tazewell. 

Claiborne County Records; Minutes of the Court from 1801 to 1978, 
with some missing, due to the fires; Deeds in the Register's office. 

Cloud, Benjamin. "Old Time Tazewell." Articles published in the 
Claiborne Progress spanning a thirty-year period; now collected and 
bound in book form in the possession of William Guy Harrell, 

Corkran, David H. The Cherokee Frontier: Conflict and Survival. Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1962. 

Earle, Jefferson D. "Memoirs," unpublished manuscript, Knoxville. 

Edwards, Lawrence. Gravel in My Shoes. Montevallo, Al.: Times Print- 
ing Company, 1963. 

and Davis, Joy Edwards. Old Speedwell Families, Revised. Easley, 

S.C.: Southern Historical Press, n.d. 

Goodspeed, Weston A., et al., eds. History of Tennessee, Reprint. Nash- 
ville: Charles and Randy Elder, 1972. 

Graham Papers, four boxes. McClung Collection, Lawson McGhee 
Library, Knoxville; these include the Graham-Chittum contract of 
1847, prepared by Mrs. Frank T. Rogers. 

Greene, Evarts B. The Foundations of American Nationality. New York: F. 
Ungar, 1968. 

Hamer, Phillip M., ed. Tennessee: A History, 1673-1932. New York: 
American Historical Society, Inc., 1933. 

Harlow, Ralph V. The Growth of the United States. New York: Henry 
Holt, 1932. 


122 5 uggested R eadings 

Leithold. Esther Moreland. AND THIS is our heritage. Privately printed 
about 1940; a copy loaned to the author. 

Lewis. Mark. "The Lewis Family," unpublished manuscript; a genea- 
logical record in the possession of Mrs. Mark Lewis, New Tazewell. 

Kincaid, Robert L. The Wilderness Road. Indianapolis and New York: 
Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1947. 

McClung Collection, Lawson McGhee Library, Knoxville. A catalog is 
maintained on microfilm roll of deeds, surveys, stage books, wills, 
reports of guardians and administrators or executors of estates. 
Those rolls of special usefulness for this area are 1-2, 4, 8-15, 18-36. 

Morris, Easton. Tennessee Gazeteer, 1834. Robert M. McBride and Owen 
Meredith, eds. Nashville: The Gazeteer Press, 1971. 

Ramsey, James G. M. Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth 
Century. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1860. 

Rogers, Wilma. The Rogers Heritage. Speedwell, Tn.: published by au- 
thor, n.d. 

Selzer, Elmer E. Ghost Railroads of Tennessee. Harrogate, Tn.: n.p. 

Suppiger, Joseph E. Phoenix of the Mountains. Harrogate, Tn.: Lincoln 
Memorial University Press, 1944. 

Tazewell Baptist Church Minutes, 1845-1868, manuscript in posses- 
sion of Mrs. Glenn Yoakum, Tazewell. 

The Story of Lincoln Memorial University. Harrogate, Tn.: Lincoln Memo- 
rial University Press, 1977. 

The Tazewell Story, A Case Study of the Economic Development of a Depressed 
Southern Appalachian Community. Area Redevelopment Administra- 
tion, August, 1966. 

Van Tyne, Claude H. The Causes of the War of Independence. New York: 
Peter Smith, 1951. 

War Records Division, Military Department of Tennessee, Nashville. 

Wilson, Mary Lorene Hansard. Old Time Tazewell. Kingsport: Kings- 
port Press, 1979. 


Abernathy, Thomas, 13 

Abingdon Academy, 27 

Academies, See Schools and Colleges 

Academy Hollow, 24, 40-41 

Achorn, E. O., 48 

Adair, John, 14 

Addams, Jane, 63 

Agriculture, 2, 26, 76, 80; agent of, 29 

Airport, 82, 84 

Albert, Linzy, 82 

Allen, James, 106 

Alston, Harvey, 69 

Alston, John, 69 

Ambulance services, 66 

American Association, Limited, 73 

American Missionary Association, 43 

Anderson and Watson, construction 

company, 65 
Anderson, county of, 9 
Anderson, Samuel R., 33 
Andersonville, Tn., 118 
Andrews, So. Caro., 86 
Appalachian Mountains, and area, 1, 

6-7, 38, 42, 81 
Architects, 65, 90 

Area Redevelopment Act, 81, 85-86 
Army, men in, 68; units of, 69 
Arnstein, Meyer and Seymour, 81 
Arthur, Alexander A., 73; home of, 49 
Arthur, Macaulay, 45 
Arthur, Tn., 44, 73, 79-80, 84, 

Center, 79 
Atkin, Sam, 52 
Ausmus, John, 55 
Ausmus, Thomas, 40 
Avery, Fred B., 45, 48 
Avery Hall, 49 
Avery, Samuel P., 48 

Bailey Gap, 16 
Baldridge, William, 16 
Baldwin, Alfred, 29 
Baldwin, Elmer, 51 
Baldwin, James W., 29, 51 
Baldwin, Walter E., 29, 51 

Baldwin, Willis, 26-27 

Bales, Archer, 20 

Ball Creek Spring, 75 

Ball, T. H., 61 

Banks, 91, 95-100; early money 

lenders, 101 
Baptists, 29, 31-32, 70, 117-119; 

churches, 31, 36, 70-71, 116, 118-119 
Barassions, James, 21 
Baring Brothers, 73 
Barnard, James, 56, 61 
Barren Creek, 14, 17, 58, 60, 91-92; 

community of, 27, 52 
Baxter, E. D., 34 
Bean's Station, 34 
Beaty, Wilma, 63 
Beeler, Herschel, 75 
Bellamy, Andrew, 26 
Bellamy, Callie, 27 
Bellamy, Orleana Mayes, 27 
Bellamy, Walker, 27 
Bell County, Ky., 1-2 
Bent Creek, Tn., 25 
Bethel, Tn., 118 
Bible Society, 96 
Big Creek, 36 

Big Sycamore Knob, 4, 19, 75 
Big Valley Road, 58 
Bituminous, road surfacing, 62 
Boat dock, (picture) 83 
Blacks, 38, 48, 91-92 
Blount, William, 14 
Blue Hole, the, 5, 91 
Bolinger, William, 58 
Boone, Daniel, 2, 7 
Booth, John Wilkes, 39 
Boone, David, 43 
Bostic, H. F., 56 
Bowyer, Luke, 9, 1 1 
Boyers, Sarah (Sally), 119 
Bragg, Braxton, 36 
Bray, James, 1 1 
Breeding, Alma, 70 
Breeding, Clyde, 89 
Breeding, James Carl, 69-70 




Breeding, Stanley, 70 

Bridges, 55, 58-59 

Brock. George, 21 

Brock, John, 20 

Brooks. Bill M., 88-89 

Brooks, Delbert, 72 

Brooks Furniture Manufacturing Com- 
pany (Brookline), 81; (pictures) 83 

Brooks, Hilt, 52, 81 

Brooks, Milt, 52 

Brushey Creek, 118-119 

Bruster, John and John V., 104 

Bullards' ferry, 19 

Bullard, Jack, 17 

Buis, J. L., 56 

Buis, W. E., 64 

Bunch Hollow, 58; Bridge, (picture) 59 

Burdine, Betsey D., 103-104 

Burdine, John Livis, 104 

Burdine, Samuel Patton, 104 

Burrough, William H., 35 

Businesses, 5, 17, 21, 23, 27, 75, 
101, 118 

Caldwell and Company, 61 

Campbell, Alexander, 20 

Campbell, county of, 1, 16, 36, 56, 58, 

Campbell, James B., 118 
Campbell, J. M., 81 
Camp Oglethorpe, 67 
Camp Sneed, 35 
Capital punishment, 39-41 
Capp, Nathaniel B., 16 
Carding mill, 26 
Carey, John, 9-10 
Carnegie Hall, 48 
Carr, Catherine, 79 
Carr Gap, 2, 60 
Carr, M. B., 67 
Carr, Nannie Mae, 52 
Carr, R. F., 56, 58, 64 
Carson-Newman College, 51, 55 
Cartwright, Peter, 31 
Castle Rock, 17, 24-25, (picture) 24, 36 
Catholics, 60 
Caves, in county, 5 
Cedar Fork, 19, 35, 58, 61; Valley, 4 
Chadwell, Charles, 74 
Charleston, So. Caro., 21 
Chattanooga, 85 
Chota, 6 
Check, James N., 16 

Cherokee, 5 

Chisum, James, 9-10 

Chittum, Wesley, 24, 70 

Chumley, Berniece, 52 

Chumley,J. H., 58 

Chumley, John, 27, 52 

Churches, 29, 31, 36, 43, 70-71, 90, 94 

Cirillo, Marie, 79 

Civic center, 79 

Civil War, 25-27, 32-39, 42-43, 69-70; 
officers in, 33-38; veterans of, 38 

Claiborne County, passim; chamber of 
commerce, 77; climate, 5; creation of, 
9; courts, 8, 10-14, 17, 19, 39-41, 51, 
55-61, 64-65, 84, 88-89; courthouses, 
(pictures) 61-62, 70; government, 8-9, 
17, 20, 56-57, 88-89; jail, 11; map, 3; 
officials, 9, 42, 56-58, 61, 64-65, 78, 
88-89, 115-116; population of, 23, 38, 
76, 84; seat of, 9-10 

Claiborne County High School, 29, 51- 
52, (picture) 53, 69, 77, 79, 81, 86 

Claiborne County Hospital, 65-66 

Claiborne County Utility District, 75, 85 

Claiborne Progress, 10 

Claiborne Textile, Inc., 85-86 

Claiborne, William C. C, 9 

Clairfield, 2, 59, 79; Center, 79 

Clayton, E. R., 65 

Clear Fork River, 59 

Clear Fork Valley, 59 

Clinch River, 2, 7, 13-14, 17, 19, 27, 58; 
Mountain, 19, 21 

Cline, Paul H., 70 

Clinton, Tn., 118-119 

Cloud, Benjamin, 10 

Cloud, Jacob, 106 

Cloud, Samuel, 9 

Coal, 2, 43-44, 59-60, 73, 84 

Cobb, Joseph, 9 

Cocke, John and William, 14 

Cockran, David H., 6 

Coke, John, 16 

Cook, Mercurious, 20 

Coleman, J. S., 61 

Colleges, see Schools and colleges 

Comby Ridge, 4 

Community Action Committee, in 
county, 60, 77-80 

Confederates, 33-39 

Congregational Church, 43 

Consolidation Coal Company, 60 

Cosby, Rondal Pete, 88 



Comiger, M., 110, 113, 115 

Cowan City, 74 

Cowan, Newton, 71 

Cowan, S. A., 74 

Craft, Ezekial, 9 

Creeks, in county, 5 

Crime, in county, 11-13, 39-41, 88 

Crops, in county, 76-77; see Farms, 

Crutchfield, Billy, 41 
Cudjo's Cave, 84 
Cumberland Ford, 34 
Cumberland Gap, 1-2, 7-9, 19, 34-36, 

39, 44-45, 55, 58-60, 73; pictures of, 

4, 37, 76; Hotel, 44-45 
Cumberland Mountain, 2, 4, 16-17, 73; 

Pike, 57 
Cunningham, J. M., 58 

Dairy products, 76-77 

Dams, 5, 26-27, 29 

Davis, Elnathan, 17 

Davis, Hazel, 63 

Davis, Jefferson, 33 

Davis, Nathaniel, 14 

Davis, Thomas L., 99, 111 

Davis, William I., 57 

Davy, Aaron, 20 

Dawson, Christopher, 19 

Day, Ransome, Jr., 106, 113 

Day, W. N., 61; wife of, 116 

DeCoursy, John F., 36 

Delozier, A. P., 58 

Democrats, 33, 37 

Dewey, John, 54 

Dickinson, John S. M., 110, 113, 115 

Diseases, in county, 64-65 

Divine, Paul E., (picture) 72 

Dixie Highway, 60, 62 

Doakes Theological Seminary, 96, 

99, 108 
Dobbs, Chesley, 107 
Dobbs, William, 19 
Donelson, Stokely, 14 
Donlin Sportswear, 81, 86, (pictures) 87 
Doughterty, John, 20 
Draft Board, in county, 67 
Dri-Set, Inc., 85 
DeBusk, Bill, 74 
DeBusk, Ethel Mary, 51 
DeBusk, John, 52 
DuBusk, Perry E., 29, 51 
Duncan, Edward, 74 

Dunn, I. R., 58 

Duo, Tn., 27 

Dyer, Marshall, 71-72 

Eager, C. F., 45 

Earl, Jefferson Davis, 52 

Earl, Jefferson Davis, Jr., 69 

Eastrage, Lawson, 103 

East Tennessee Council on Aging, 72 

East Tennessee State Planning 

Commission, 75 
East Tennessee State University, 88 
Eaton, William G., 97 
Economic Opportunity Act, 78-79 
Economy, 23, 25-27, 29, 33, 38, 43, 

56-57,66, 71, 76-88 
Education, 29, 41-55, 78-79; see Schools 

and colleges 
Edwards, John, 58 
Elections, 33, 37-38, 51, 70, 88-89 
Electricity, 75-76, 86 
Elison, Thomas, 103 
Ely, Elaine, 79 
England, Charlie, 85 
England, English, the, 5-7, 73-74 
England Manufacturing Company, 85 
Entertainment, places of, 19 
Epidemics, in county, 64-65 
Episcopalians, 31 
Epperson, Ray, 71 
Essary, Joe Frank, 72 
Estep, James D., Jr., 65 
Evans, Elijah, 19 
Evans, George, 19 
Evans, James P., 70 
Evans, John, 20 
Evans, Joseph, 14 

Evans, Walter, 9-10, 14, 17, 24, 109, 112 
Evins, Andrew, 9 
Ewing, 52 

Farmer, John, 16 

Farmers Home Administration, 84 

Farms, farmers, 19, 26-27, 29, 38, 45, 

52, 63-64, 69, 80; see Crops 
Federal Aviation Commission, 84 
Ferries, 17, 19 
Fires, in county, 75 
Fishing Creek, Ky., 36 
Fishing, fishers, 5, 7, 27 
Flat Gap, 117 
Flat Lick, Ky., 34 
Fletcher, B. M., 56, 64 



Flour mills, 27 

Floods, in county, 27 

Flvnn. S. H., 78 

Fonde, 2; Mountain, 59 

Forge Ridge High School, 52, 77 

Former, W. F., 58 

Four Seasons Hotel, 44, 73 

France, 6 

Francisco, Lon, 51 

Freedman's Bureau, 48 

Free Soilers, 37 

Friar, H. H„ 64 

Frit, Samuel, 20 

Frost, Simeon, 16 

Fugate, Elizabeth Ritchie, 116 

Fugate, Thomas, 52 

Fugate, Will A., 65 

Fulkerson, James and FranceSj 

93-94, 100 
Fulkerson, P. G., 50-51, 55, 71 
Fulkerson, R. Frank, 34 
Fullington, Alexander, 1 1 1 
Fultz, Ronald, 88 
Fur trade, traders, 7-8 

Galbreath, Helen E., 52 
Gamble, Mary, 119 
Gammons, Gaines, & Company, 21 
Gaps, 2, 7, 16, 34, 60, 117; see 

Cumberland Gap 
Garrison Road, 95 
Geography, of county, 1-5 
Geology, of county, 4-5 
Georgia, state of, 5, 67 
Germans, 7 
Gibson, E. J., 64 
Gilbert, Marshall L., 88 
Giles, Rufus, 86-87 
Glasgow, James, 14 
Goin, John L., 67 
Goin,J. P., 56, 64 
Goin, Iona Holt, (picture) 50 
Goins, Uriah, 14 
Gose, C. W., 84 
Gose, Eph, 72, 84 
Gose, Kelly, 84 

Graham, Catherine Nenney, 25 
Graham, Francis, 91, 96 
Graham, Hugh, 17, 21, 23-25, 33, 36, 

90, 93, 95, 98, 100 
Graham, John, 95, 97 
Graham, Margaret, 90-93, 98-100 
Graham, Maria, 95, 97 
Graham, Thomas P., 70 

Graham, William, 17, 20, 23, 42, 50, 90; 

will of, 90-101 
Grainger, county of, 1, 9, 14, 56, 

117, 119 
Grant-Lee Hall, 46 
Greasy Creek Academy, 1 17 
Greasy Hollow, 58 
Great Valley of East Tennessee, 2, 4 
Greeley, Horace, 37 

Greene, Andrew J. and wife, Susan, 117 
Greer, A. J., 64 
Greer, G. W„ 58 
Greer, John, 52 
Grist mills, 5, 25-27, 29 
Grubb, Iveron, 89 
Gulf of Mexico, 1 

Hall, John, 14 

Hamilton, Ethel, 51 

Hamilton, Samuel, 103 

Hancock, county of, 1, 58, 117 

Hanging, public, 39-41 

Hansard, A. C, 70 

Hansard, R. C, 109, 113, 115 

Harbin, Douglas, 72 

Hardin, E. J., Ill, 71-72 

Hardy, James, 109, 113, 115 

Harkleroad, Faye, 79 

Harris, Isham G., 33 

Harrodsburg, Ky., 21 

Harrogate, England, 73 

Harrogate, Tn., 44-46, 58, 65, 78, 88, 

119; Inn, 45 
Harrow Hall High School, 45, 48 
Hart, Noah, 16 
Harvy, ThosJ., 103 
Hawkins, county of, 9, 117, 119 
Headstart Program, 78-79, 81 
Health services, 59-60, 63-66 
Helms, James, 16 

Henderson, Richard, 13; landgrant, 19 
Henderson, William, 14 
Herbert, B. B., 48 
Herrel, Drury, 1 1 
Higdon, Harold, 85 
Highway 25 East, 75, 85 
Hill-Burton Act, 65 
Hinds Creek Baptist Church, 118-119 
Hiwassee College, 55 
Hodges, G. B., 65 
Hodges, N. C, 71 
Hodges, William H., 67 
Hollinsworth, John A., 105 
Holt, Alice, 29, (picture) 30 



Holt Cove, 29 

Holt, Clarence, T., 69 

Holt, Edgar A., 29, 78, 80 

Holt farm, 29 

Holt, Newton Lafayette, 27-28; General 

Merchandise Store, 27, 38 
Honeycutt, Annanias, 39-41 
Hooper, James F., 112 
Home construction, 71, 77, 84, 86, 88 
Hoop Creek Community, 38 
Hospitals, 59-60, 65-66, 86 
Hotels, 44-45 
Houston, Hugh, 93 
Houston, William, 70, 92, 100, 112 
Howard, Oliver Otis, 39, 42-43, 45, 

Howard University, 48 
H. T. Hackney Wholesale Grocery, 86 
Huddleston, John, 20 
Huffaker, Clvde, 80 
Huffaker, Peter, 12, 17 
Hufstedler, Dorene, 75 
Hughes, J. H., 64 
Hull House, 63 
Human Services, dept. of, 63 
Hunt, John, 9-11, 21; home of, 

(picture) 10 
Hunter, Wade, 89 
Hunting and hunters, 5, 7-8, 13 
Hurst, Emma Jo, 78 
Hurst, John M., 56, 64 
Hurst, William D., 65,88 

Indians, 2, 5-8 

Industries, 5, 25-27, 29, 77, 84-88 

Inns, 19 

Insurance rates, effects of, 85-86 

Iroquois, 5 

Iron, 73 

Ivy Ridge, 117 

Jacksboro Road, 58 

Jackson, A. E., 35 

James, Darwin R., 45 

James, Frank, 40 

James, R., 48 

Jaynes, W. S., 61 

Jennings, Frank, 56 

Jennings, L. T., 58 

Johns, Henry, 1 17 

Johns, John Rial, 117-119; related 

family names, 1 19 
Johns, Rial, 117 
Johns, Sarah, 117-118 

Johns, Thomas, 117 

Johnson, Andrew, 36-39 

Johnson mill, 27 

Jones, Matilda, 104 

Jones, W. H., 64 

Jordon, Tommy, 79 

Juries, early, in county, 20; members of, 

list, 20 
Juvenile court, in county, 63 

Keck, John, 58, 64 

Keeny, A. B., 61 

Kehr, Cyrus, 46 

Kennedy, John, 81 

Kentucky Road, 9-10, 17, 19, 21, 24, 27, 

40, 44, 56, 59-60, 91, 95, 97, 106-107, 

110, 112 
Kentucky, state of, 2, 7, 9, 13, 19, 33, 36 
Kesterson, A. B., 45 
Ketron,J. R., 57 
Ketron, Robert T., 67 
Kincaid, William, 16 
Kirkpatrick, William, 70 
Kivett, James J., 67 
Kivett, J. P., 56 
Kivette, Charlotte, 52 
Kivette, Lois, 52 
Knox, county of, 14, 23 
Knoxville, 9, 19, 34-35, 44, 52, 70, 

72-73, 75 
Knoxville, Cumberland Gap, and 

Louisville Railroad, 73 
Knoxville Road, 56 

Lambert, J. B., 56, 64 

Lambert, Lewis, 64 

Lambert, Tom, 28 

Land agents, 7; traders, 6 

Land grants, 13-17 

Lane, Isaac, 9-10, 20 

Lane, Jesse B., 70 

Lane, Thomas, 14 

Lanham, Abel, 9-10, 20 

Lanhan, Sally, 106 

Larry, John Hale, 46 

LaSalle University, 88 

Lead Mine Bend, 13-14, 34 

Lee County, Va., 1-2 

Leibold Place, 1 18* 

Lewis, Fielding, 9, 119; related family 

names, 1 19 
Lewis, Mark, 1 19 
Lewis, James M., and wife, Sally 

Russell, 119 



Lewis. William and wife, Sally, 
Libraries. 49; personal, 23, 91, 93 
Lincoln, Abraham, 33, 37-39, 42-43, 

45. 48 
Lincoln Memorial University, 39, 42-55, 

69, 73 
Lincoln Museum, 50 
Literacy, in county, 42-43 
Littell, Edward, 23, 33 
Little Barren Creek, 19 
Little Creek, 16 

Little Red School for the Retarded, 79 
Little Ridge, 4 
Little Sycamore, 19, 29, 58, 116; Creek, 

10, 16-17; Valley, 4 
Little Tennessee River, 6 
Lilly Grove Community, 119 
Livesay, George and wife, Eliza Johns, 
Livestock, 12, 26 
L 8c N Railroad, 44 
London, England, 73 
Lone Mountain, 4, 52, 58 
Lonesome Valley, 5, 25, 38, 51; 

community of, 27; Creek, 29; 

Elementary School, 51 
Long Bottom, community of, 119 
Long Mountain, 119 
Longstreet, James, 34 
Loope, Edna, 79 
Luce, Jean, 79 
Lynch, F. L., 64 
Lynch, Loalles, 52 
Lynch, J. F., 56 
Lynch, John, 21 

Macadam road surfacing, 55, 61 
Maddox, J. W., 56 
Maddy, William, 16 
Magazines, early, 23 
Manday, James, 103-104 
Manning, Noah, 58 
Marsee, Dewey, 79 
Marcum, Beverly, 107 
Marcum, Peter, 16-17, 107 
Margraves, Tennessee, 24 
Martin, Salathiel, 20 
Mason, Lucy Ann, 1 16 
Mathis, S. E., 61 
Maryville College, 55 
Mayes Chapel Methodist Church, 29 
Mayes, Daniel H., 27; and wife, 
(picture) 28 

Mayes Elementary School, 29, 

(picture) 30 
Mayes, James, 26-27, 38 
Mayes, Jerrield D., 26-27, 38 
Mayes, Jonathan, 25-27 
Mayes, Luther, 29, 51 
Mayes, Marion, 61 
Mayes, Polly, 26 
Mayes, Sara Katherine, 27 
Mayes, Sarah C, 27 
Mayes, William C, 27 
Mayes, W. E., 58, 61 
Mayes, W. S., 27 
McAmis, A. A., 70 
McBee, Minnie, 1 17 
McClellan, George B., 37 
McCown, John P., 34 
McDaniel, Charlie Haynes, 89 
McDaniel, McCoy, and Company, 56 
Mclver, John, 16 
Mclane, Thomas, 16 
McMinn, Joseph, 20 
McNealance, Jane, 93-94, 97 
McNeeley, Hugh, 65 
Memphis Bank of Tennessee, 96-97 
Methodist Episcopalians, 31 
Methodists, 29, 75 

Midas Corporation, 85, (pictures) 87 
Middlesboro, Ky., 44, 52, 59, 72-73, 

Mines, 60, 73; see Coal, Iron 
Minerals, in county, 1-5 
Mingo smallpox camp, 64 
Mink, C. E., 61 
Ministers, 117-119 
Minton, C. H., 61 
Minton, John, 69 
Missionary Baptist Church, 116 
Mitchell Mountain, 1 
Mobile home construction, 84-85 
Montgomery, George W., 67 
Morley, Lizzie Mae, 80 
Morrison, J. H. S., 56-57, 60, 67 
Moss, A. M., 58 
Mountains, in county, 1-2, 4, 7 
Moyers, Millard, 64 
Moytoy of Great Tellico, 6 
Mulberry Creek, 117 
Mulberry Gap, 16 
Munsey, Jack, 89 
Murphy, John, 1 1 
Murphy, Reid, 85 



Murray, William, 103 
Myers, A. A., 43-45 

Nashville, 61 

National Union Party, 37-38 

Nations, Joseph, 9-10 

Navy men, in county, 67-69 

Neeney, J. H., 56 

Neil, James B., 70 

Neil, John, 21 

Neil, William, 70 

Nettleton, Grace, 45 

Nevils, Clyde, 85 

Nevils, G. S., 56, 61 

Newport, Cavender, 9, 20 

Newspapers, 10 

New Tazewell, 60, 65, 70-77, 79, 82, 

84-86, 88-89, 118; Center, 79; 

government of, 74-75; 

officials of, 74-75 
New Tazewell Baptist Church, 118 
New Tazewell Methodist Church, 75 
Nicholson Coal Company, 64 
Norris Dam, 27; Lake, 2 
Norris Homes, 84-85, (pictures) 87 
North Carolina, 1, 6-7, 13-14 
Northern Bank of Kentucky, 95, 100 
Northern Bank of Tennessee, 98-99 
Norton, Va., 44 
Norvell, James S., 16 
Nursing homes, 65-66 

Occupations, in county, 21 

Office of Economic Opportunity, 77, 

Old School Foreign Mission Society, 96 
Old Town Creek, 17 
Oneita Knitting Mills, 86 
Ore Bed Junction, 73 
Overton, Douglas, 72 
Overall Economic Development 

Program, 82 
Overton, F. F., 55, 58 
Overton, M. F., 45 
Owen, Newton P., 117 
Owens, John, 9 

Park, W. A., 56 
Parkey, Barbara, 116 
Parkey, C. H., 58 
Parkey House, (picture) 12 
Parkey, Stella, 119 

Parkey, W. C, 61 
Parks, 71 
Parine.J. W., 71 
Patterson, C. F., 46 
Patterson, Nancy, 98 
Patterson, Robert, 100 
Patterson's Crossroads, 34, 58 
Patterson, William G., 98 
Payne, L. G., 60 
Peabody College, 63 
Peal, George, 9 
Pearson farm, 29 
Pearson, Henry, 29 
Percival, Bryan Catherine, 52 
Perryman, James A., 19 
Petrie, George, 14 
Petree, Orville, 79 
Philadelphia, Pa., 100 
Philomathean Literary Society, 

(picture) 49 
Physicians, 78 
Pike, Jacob, 103 
Pillow, Gideon J., 33 
Pioneers, 2, 6 

Pinnacle, the, 2, (picture) 4, 34 
Planning commissions, in county, 82 
Politics, 38; political parties, 33, 

36-37, 51 
Poore, Ewin, 69 

Poore, Pleasant H., (picture) 28, 64 
Poor house, in county, 1 1 
Poor, Katherine, 69 
Poor Valley Ridge, 4, 16 
Posey, Benjamin, 14, 17 
Posey, David C, 106 
Posey, George W., 110, 112 
Posey spring, 41, 111 
Post offices, 27 
Powell Mountain, 4 
Powell River, 2, 5, 7, (picture) 8, 13-14, 

16-17, 19, 34, 58-59, 84, 102-103; 

Bridge, 58 
Powell Valley, 2, 4, 7, 9, 13, 19, 27, 40, 

77, 84, 88, 104, 111; Electric Co-op, 

75-76; High School, 52, 77; Road, 

58-59; Utility District, 84 
Presbyterians, 21, 31-32, 60, 94-95; 

churches, 17, 31,90,94-95 
Pursifull, H. H., 58 

Railroads, 43-44, 55 

Rainfall, in county, 5, 17, 25, 27 



Ramsey, Hugh Trent, 67 

Ramsey, Josiah, 21 

Rea, George L., 65 

Real Estate, 13; tax, 20 

Real, George, 20 

Religion, 25, 29, 31-32, 60, 94-95; 

see Churches 
Recreation vehicles, construction of, 

Renfro, James, 9-10, 20 
Republicans, 33, 36-37, 51 
Resorts, 73 
Rice, C. Y., 70 
Richardson, David, 16, 100 
Richardson, Sam, 28 
Ridges, in county, 4 
Riley, J. D., 61 
Riley, James H., 56 
Riley, Mary Ritchie, (also Neff, 

Mary), 116 
Ritchie, Harvey, 115-117 
Ritchie, James, 116 
Ritchie, J. P. 116 
Ritchie, J. T., 116 
Ritchie, Peter, 116 
Ritchie, William, 116 
Ritchie, W. V., 116 
Ritter, James, 16 
Rivers, in county, 2, 5 
Roads, 17, 59-62; bonds, 55-60 
Roane, Archibald, 8-9 
Robertson, S. R., 58 
Rock Castle, Ky., 36 
Rocky Mountains, 1-2 
Rogers Brothers Farms, 29 
Rogrs, C. G., 61 
Rogers, David William, 27 
Roger's Gap, 34 
Rogers, J. C., 64 
Rogers, J. E., 67 
Rogers, Malinda, 104 
Rogers, Virginia, 104, 113 
Rogers, W. B., 64 
Rogers, William, 9, 20 
Rosenbalm, G. W., 56 
Rowe, Harry D., 74 
Russell Creek, 14, 24, 91, 95, 105-107 
Russell, John, 111 
Russell, Sally, 119 
Ryan, Joseph, 21 

Sandlick, 17, 58, 60 
Saltlicks, 21, 23 

Sawmill, 26-27, (picture) 32 

Scarrett College, 63 

Schultz, B. F., 56, 64 

Schools and colleges, 25, 27, 29-31, 39, 

41-55, 66, 69, 73, 77-80, 88, 96-97, 

99, 108, 117; accreditation of, 49; 

subscription, 29; superintendents, 

Scotch-Irish, 7 
Scots, 6 

Seligman, A. L., 48 
Settlers, early, 5, 7, 20, 23, 25 
Sevier, John, 35, 43 
Sewage facilities, 71, 75, 78, 81-82, 85 
Sewell, Ann Jane, 107-110, 112, 114 
Sewell, Benjamin, 17, 90, 101; will of, 

Sewell, Houston, 106-112, 114 
Sewell, James Joseph, 106, 108-112 
Sewell, Margaret Virginia, 105-106, 

Sewell, Mary Louisa, 107-112 
Sewell, Thomas, 102-103 
Sharp, G. S., 61 
Sharp, I. J., 64 
Sharp, Marvin, 88 
Shaub, Earl, 39 
Shawanee, Tn., 44, 51, 58, 84 
Shawnee, 5 
Shelbyville, 34 
Shell Hotel, (picture) 22 • 
Shipley, Edward, 14 
Shipley, Luther, 85 
Shumate, Mary, 119 
Skiagunsta, 5 
Simmons, Kenneth D., 89 
Sims, Mathew, 9 
Singleton, Paul D., 89 
"Sinks," the, 26, 29 
Slaton, Martha Alice, 117 
Slave and slavery, 33, 38, 91-92, 94, 98, 

104, 106-107, 110-111, 113 
Smallpox, 64-65 
Smith, Kirby, 34-35 
Sneedville, 78 
Sneedwell, 1 17 
Social Security Act, 62 
Social services, 11, 62-65; for elderly, 

Soils, in county, 1-5, 25 
Soldiers, from county, 33, 67-68 
Soldiers Memorial School, 79 
South Carolina, 5 



Southern Railroad, 72-73, 75, 118 

Springdale, community of, 10, 58 

Springs, in county, 5, 25 

Speedwell, 77, 89; Academy, 97 

Squatters, land, 6-7 

Stanifer, William, 84 

State Route 33, 60, 84 

Still, James, 49 

Straight Creek, 14, 93-94; Road, 17, 118 

Stone, Lee Dan, 81 

Stuart, Jesse, 49 

Sumner, county of, 14 

Swab, D. C, 64 

Sycamore Creek, 16, 106, 113; 

Valley, 56 
Sycamore Knob, 4 

Tackett Creek mine, 60 

Tadlock, Andrew, 21 

Taxes, in county, 60 

Tazewell Academy, 27 

Tazewell Baptist Church, 36 

Tazewell College, 3 1 , 42 

Tazewell, community of, 10; city of, 
16-17, 19-21, 24, 31, 34-36, 38, 40, 
52, 56, 58, 60, 65, 70-77, 79, 81-82, 
85-86, 91, 101, 105-107, 111-112, 
117-119; chamber of commerce, 84; 
government of, 70-71; officials of, 
70-72; water plant, (picture) 83 

Tazewell-New Tazewell Industrial 
Park, 86 

Tazewell Presbyterian Church, 90, 94 

Tazewell Textile Industry, 85 

Teachers, 69, 78-79; see Education, 
Schools and colleges 

Telford method, road surfacing, 61 

Telephones, 75 

Tennessee Conservationist, 39 

Tennessee, state of; department of agri- 
culture, 29; Highway Commission, 61; 
Legislature, 9, 55, 58, 62, 88, 115-1 16; 
Planning Commission, 82 

Thomas, J. C, 58 

Thomas, W. S., 58, 61 

Thompson, John, 27 

Timber, in county, 1-2, 5, 25-26, 43 

Tobacco, growing of, 76; warehouses, 86 

Torbett, Charles, 74 

Transportation, 2, 5, 19, 21, 43, 60 

Trappers, 7-8, 13 

Trease, John, 103 

Treece, N. J., 71 

Trent, William, 9-10 

Trimble, James, 1 1 

Turner, Frederick Jackson, 13 

Turner, Sarah Ann, 1 17 

Tusculum College, 55 

TVA, 75 

Tye's Branch, 14 

Typhoid fever, 65 

U.S. Government, grants from, 82 
Union Bank of Tennessee, 91, 97-98 
Union Army, 26-27, 33 
Union, county of, 1, 56, 58, 60 
University of Chicago, 63 
University of Tennessee, 29, 51-52, 55, 

66, 80 
University of Texas, 29, 51 
Urban renewal, 71 
Utilities, 65, 71, 75, 77-78, 81-82, 84-86 

Valleys, 1-2, 4 

Vanbebber, John, 9, 20 

Vanderbilt University, 63 

Vannoy,J. R., 88 

Virginia, state of, 2, 6-9, 27, 58, 75 

Vocational school, 79 

Volunteers, in military, 66-67 

Wagons, 21 

Walker, Earnest, 89 

Walker, Jacob, 63 

Walker, Thomas, 2 

Wallen, Elisha, 13 

Wallen, Elisha, Sr., 20 

Wallen, John, 7-9, 17 

Wallen Ridge, 4, 7, 16, 93 

Washington College, 96, 99-100 

Washington, county of, 14, 96 

Water, supplies of, systems, 65, 71, 75, 

78, 81-82, 84-86 
Watson, Asa, 103 
Watts Ore Mine, 73 
W. B. Browning Construction 

Company, 79 
Webster, Joseph, 9, 11, 20 
Welch, Frank, 50 
Welch, Joe Whitt, 88 
Welfare, in county, 11, 62-63 
Wells, Haskell, 89 
Welsh, 19 

Western and Atlantic Railroad, 21 
Whetsel, Susanah W., 103 
Whigs, 33 

132 Index 

hitaker. Luther. 80 Winfrey, W. S., 118 

hite. Hugh. 23 Wise, Boyd A., 49 

hite. Joseph. 70 World War I, 38, 51-52, 60, 66-70 

hite Lvons-Companv, 64 World War II, 38, 66-70, 76 

hite. N. l\, 71 

idner. M. V., 64 Yauldy, Robert, 19 

ier. Mary, 95, 98 Yellow Creek Coal Company, 64 

ier. Thomas, 95 Yoakum, J. S., 58, 61 

ild Cat. Ky.. 36 Yoakum Station, 16 

ildlife, in county, 12 

illiams, Joseph, 14 Zolicoffer, Felix K., 33, 35-36 

ilson Gap, 2, 60 

Author 133 

About the Author 

Edgar A. Holt, son of Sarah C. (Mayes) Holt and Newton 
Lafayette Holt, was born October 12, 1900, in Lonesome Valley 
near Tazewell, Tennessee. After attending Mayes Elementary 
School in Lonesome Valley and graduating from the Claiborne 
County High School in Tazewell, he graduated from the Lincoln 
Memorial University with a B.A. in history and literature. He 
received a M.A. degree in history and government from the 
State University of Iowa and a Ph.D. in the same fields from 
Ohio State University. His teaching career has included high 
school instruction in Alton and Orange City, Iowa; college 
teaching at Southern Illinois University, University of Nebraska 
at Omaha, and the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He 
entered the military service from Omaha and retired from the 
Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel. He then returned to 
Claiborne County to live on the family farm which has been 
designated as a Century Farm by the Tennessee Department of 

Dr. Holt has published many articles in the Claiborne Progress 
and has published such other works as Party Politics in Ohio, 
"Steamboating on the Missouri River" in the Palimpsest, and 
histories of the Air Force Academy. He has also prepared several 

134 Author 

volumes of classified military histories of air operations in the 
Southwest and Western Pacific. 

For two and one-half years, Dr. Holt served as the Executive 
Director of the Claiborne County Community Action Com-